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Death at a Funeral (2007)
I'm sorry. I didn't laugh at all at this movie. Yes, it was in the genre of "whatever can go wrong will go wrong." The unending chaos hinged mostly on one thing: The fact that the idiot pharmacy student kept losing his bottle of "Valium" which actually contained very strong hallucinogens. What kind of idiot would put such things in a Valium bottle, first of all, and, second, not keep a very strong eye on the bottle at all times? I mean, to some people, the contents were pure poison! If you had a bottle of arsenic, would you just casually keep "losing" it? I personally hate hallucinogens and know that if I were forced to take them (again), I would just lose it altogether, maybe forever! That is NOT funny to me! I would have much preferred it if the "victims" in this movie knew full well what they were ingesting and, perhaps, that what they ingested were something more benign, like marijuana.
At any rate, this movie was rather slapstick, I felt. Too much frenzy.
P.S. I Love You (2007)
Men and Women and Romance in Real Life
Everybody: Oh, please.
For what this film sought out to portray, it did an excellent job. Kudos to the actors, the cinematographer, et al.
I do wish that nowadays all men who merely look what we used to call "nice" (i.e., not ugly, almost attractive) are suddenly anointed with being GORGEOUS. Well, yeah, gorgeous if you compare them to most of what's out there in the way of heterosexual males. (Males often feel it is their God-given right to "let themselves go," to walk around with huge paunches, balding pates, grease-stained togs, foul breath, etc., and still be considered "real catches." Why? Because they're MEN! There's this inordinate male pride going on in our society now, along with a sense of entitlement (are you SURE this isn't 1955?), and all women are expected to bow down to the "obviously superior male" of the species. That includes calling them GORGEOUS when they are, in fact, what we used to call just "nice" looking. Nowadays, there are a million films out, starring guys who could only be called very unattractive in anyone's book, and their love interests are always played by truly gorgeous females. What's with that? I am not the only one who noticed this. A reporter for the L.A. Times, plus many other reporters online, have noticed this trend, too.
The guy in the film who played the deceased spouse? He was nice looking. But "gorgeous"? I don't THINK so! Try looking at Alain Delon in his 20s! Now THAT is gorgeous. And there's nothing out there even remotely like him nowadays.
I tho't Hilary Swank did well in this film. I do take issue with the screenwriter, though. That big fight that Hilary had with her spouse early on in the film that most people here loved? Horrible!!! Hilary's character was being whiny and just looking for a reason, it seems, to be angry. She was not angry for any valid reason. Luckily, by the time a female gets more mature, she realizes the folly of starting fights over little itty bitty things such as were portrayed in this film. Hell, had I been the character married to the character played by Hilary, I would have told her precisely what I thought of her pettiness --- before walking out on her and slamming the door! Still, all in all, a nice fantasy (that men can really be as considerate and loving as the guy in the film). We who have been around the block awhile know that, of course, these guys do not exist in real life.
The T.A.M.I. Show (1964)
I Was There, Too
Well, I was there for the performance, too. I was 16 1/2 or 17. I attended Santa Monica High School. All the kids from school were invited to walk down the street to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium if they were interested in seeing this show, free. I was. No, I didn't get on camera (as the other posting person did), nor did I wish to. But I have to say, it was one of the most exciting shows I had ever seen. The other posting person is correct: James Brown just blew the whole thing away. I was born and raised in Santa Monica, of white ex-farmers who came to Santa Monica from the Midwest in 1920, so it was pretty shocking to see James Brown's performance. I had never seen anything like it in my life. At that time, I thought James Brown was rather akin to some kind of wild monkey from Africa (sorry). I knew nothing about black folks then, and certainly nothing about Mr. Brown or his wonderful music. The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, all the fabulous acts, all in one place. Phew! It was just fabulous. I do feel lucky, having been able to attend, free!
La veuve Couderc (1971)
Delon is Indelible, As Usual
The person who wrote that she (?) thought that, perhaps, no one in America had seen this film is wrong! I saw it in Los Angeles when it first came out, in the early '70s. Granted, it did not leave a great impression upon me. What left a great impression upon me was, bien sur, the wonderful Alain Delon. Sigh. Sorry! Can't help it! I will remember everything he was in until the day I die! After seeing this film, I remember afterwards, recollecting the scenes with him and the younger gal with whom he was dallying, and thinking, "That actress should PAY to play that role!" Again, sorry! Of course, Signoret was fantastic, as she always was.
The Break-Up (2006)
Why is this movie so long?
I just thought the two main characters, especially the female (Jennifer Anniston's character, Brooke), didn't have much insight as to what was really happening in the relationship, and why it wasn't working, and Brooke used all the wrong words when telling Vince (Gary) why she was angry! I mean, duh, when it dawns on a woman that the male half of the relationship just doesn't care whether or not he pleases or displeases the female half, guess what? That's called indifference, which is the direct opposite of love. So what she needed to say was, "You don't love me! It's obvious by your indifference to me and my feelings!" When the guy doesn't give a damn, it's time to pack up and go. Seems like this point, once made, could have made the movie about 5 minutes long, instead of over an hour-and-a-half. Whenever a woman is placed in the position of "nagging" or "whining," it means the husband / boyfriend has long since ceased giving a damn about pleasing the woman or caring about her feelings. Time to pack up and bolt! You can't fight it; it just IS. So the lady needs to take her lumps and just GO.
Expresso Bongo (1959)
An interesting time capsule
This is kind of an annoying low-budget film, but at least I, an American, got to see what the fuss used to be about the UK singer Cliff Richard, whom I had never seen before. I also have never seen Lawrence Harvey in a semi-comedic role. He seemed as if he were on speed, or coke; very annoying. I kept yelling, "Give the guy a Valium!" And his accent drifted from plummy English to South African to European Yiddish, and back again. Most disconcerting.
But watch the film for future celebs! There's Hermione Baddley (who was on "Maude"), playing a street-walking prostitute (!), there's Burt Kouwk (who played Cato in all those Pink Panther movies), playing a dissolute Soho youth, and Susan Hampshire ("Upstairs, Downstairs," and various TV movies).
The film's depiction of Soho reminded me of old American films' depictions of 42nd St. in N.Y. Really cheesy.
And apparently there wasn't too much censorship of British films then, because we see in this film lots of true female nudity (the strippers in the film). Man, I haven't seen breasts like those in ages! (All natural, all non-augmented.) See this as an interesting historical time capsule.
O.K., but that ONE scene! Wow!
First, O.K., this film is a guilty pleasure. So I'm an inveterate romantic. So kill me.
There is one scene when Faye says to Marcello, "I don't want your pity." He responds by saying, increasingly heatedly, "Pity? PITY? WHAT pity?" Then he throws her down on the ground and kisses her, saying, "I LOVE you! I LOVE you! I LOVE you!" Now, c'mon. If you're a romantic (and you probably aren't), you'll adore this scene. Others will become nauseous. So sorry.
Sometimes a girl has to have her fantasies. Apologies to all you realists and intellectual cinemaphiles.
Flesh and Fantasy (1943)
A little correction, a little history.....
The second of the three tales in this movie is, indeed, the strongest, and the most memorable.
Another reviewer wrote that Noel Coward wrote the second of the three mini-movies within this one movie. Not so!!! It was based on an 1891 Oscar Wilde tale called "The Crime of Lord Arthur Saville." Although both gentlemen were British, both writers, both gay, Coward was born at about the time Wilde was sentenced to jail and later died, so the times in which they lived were very different! Plus, obviously, their styles of writing are very different.
Just a little film history about the second tale:
made into a U.S. theatrical movie in 2006 ("First Snow"); made into a Russian TV movie ("Prestuplenie lorda Artura") in 1991; made into a French TV movie in 1968 ("Le Crime de Lord Arthur Saville"); made into a British TV movie in 1960; made into a U.S. TV episode of "Suspicion" in 1958; enfolded into a theatrical movie in the U.S. in 1943 ("Flesh and Fantasy") made into a theatrical movie in France in 1921 or 1922.
California Wine Country?
Apparently, none of the people on this site who wrote their comments come from California, because the locale of this film is not the justifiably heralded and famous "California wine country," which is in Northern California, in Napa Valley in particular, but in Santa Barbara County and thereabouts, in Southern California --- very different soil and very different "country." Santa Barbara County wines are just little brothers and sisters to The Big Place Upstate, Napa! Although the Santa Barbara County "wine country" looked wonderful in this film, any viewers would do themselves a favor by going to see for themselves how astoundingly beautiful is the real deal: Napa Valley, in Northern California. Wow. Now THAT's "wine country." So, please, stop referring to the locale of this film as "California wine country." You cannot call anything but Napa and Sonoma Counties "California wine country." You just can't. California is a HUGE place, and Southern California is vastly different from Northern California. Their wine regions cannot be confused.
To Catch a Thief (1955)
Escapism At Its Most Delicious
This film, "disappointing"? Who is that reviewer kidding? No female would ever say that. This film is escapism at its finest, and what, pray tell, is wrong with escapism in this ever-more-dreary and stressful world? I don't CARE that this isn't a serious acting effort on Cary Grant's behalf; I don't CARE that the plot is telescoped. What I DO care about is the fantasy of it all: the beauty of the two stars, their clothing, the surroundings, the sets, and the way this movie just takes a (female) viewer away to a place and time that she will never have experienced but would love to experience: the South of France in the '50s; healthy, witty people with unlimited funds; sunshine, flowers, villas; amusing intrigue involving stolen jewels; the sparkle of the Mediterranean. And that gaspingly gorgeous costume ball! Wow! Please. This is a frothy and fabulous dreamscape like no other. After a very stressful day, to lie down with a glass of chilled champagne and watch Cary Grant and Grace Kelly cavort on the French Riviera is the most sublime thing one could do. I know more than a few females who honestly could not have withstood their lives without the escape this film provides. Thank you Mr. Hitchcock! You have performed a great, great service!
Lots of Frothy Fun
O.K. So this may not be a deep film. It's not. It's the kind of film a person can watch without engaging too many brain cells after a hard week of work and which offers action set in luxurious surroundings (always an upper when you're feeling down) and some fine and amusing acting by Sigourney Weaver, Ray Liotta, and Gene Hackman. Lot of pretty people, pretty sets, good cinematography and funny situations. So shoot me: I had a fine time viewing this. It was a lot of fun. I would even watch it again! I don't know why this didn't get wider distribution or p.r. when it first came out. Oh well. Just rent it. It's good, frothy fun! Sigourney's and Jennifer's shenanigans are a hoot!
10:30 P.M. Summer (1966)
Not As Remembered, But Still Has Its Points!
I just saw this film (at LACMA) after having seen it when it first came out. Wow! I didn't remember it that way at all! I guess when you're 19 this kind of stuff seems hot stuff, or very very deep. Now that I'm 56, I think it's just kind of pretentious but full of wonderful acting, nice cinematography and lighting, and very pretty actors! Romy Schneider looks beautiful in this, yes. But I have seen her looking even better (mostly in French films). She did, though, have some very early-50s kind of makeup, which was perplexing, considering this was '66. Melina, unbelievably, looks very contemporary; she could have just stepped out onto Rodeo Drive in 2004. I had forgotten how STRIKING her looks are. And her emoting is, well, breath-taking. Peter Finch looked so slender and drop-dead elegant. His face took MY breath away. God, what a face! (No wonder everyone supposedly from Vivian Leigh to Danny Kaye fell in love with him!) Note: Topkapi came before this film, not after. As to the plot, maybe I'm just dense, but I didn't really see the point. I just wanted to be a part of the party! Altho' Melina played, supposedly, a horrible drunkard, I felt she acted like a reasoned lady at all times and don't see what the husband and the lover were "tsch tsch"ing about. She seemed to keep it together pretty darned well for a supposed alcoholic. The whole bit about the murderer was just a turn-off to me, and I thought it kind of spoiled the fun (some of you smarties will say, Duh, that was the POINT!), but I didn't WANT the fun to stop! In sum, pretty people in exotic locales. Lots of this film was very engrossing. The actors are everything here.
Le divorce (2003)
From Champagne to Cassoulet
I read the book before I saw the movie. This movie took a frothy, bubbly, champagne-like story and beat it down into a thick, greasy, too-filling cassoulet. Ugh. Should have been a nice little upbeat film about Paris. The book's author should have been consulted more on the script. Merchant Ivory were NOT the folks who should have produced this film! Such a pity, because I enjoyed the book very much.
Down with Love (2003)
A Triumph of Style Over Content
First, this film doesn't draw solely from "Pillow Talk." It draws from the Hudson-Day "Lover Come Back" as well. The sets, costumes, music, and cinematography are all first rate, truly remarkable and wonderful. I believe there was a casting mishap, though. While Renee Zellweger has her charm, she is no Doris Day. Doris was beautiful while Renee could be called, at a stretch, "cute." She just has an unfortunate puffy face which does not add to her allure. Further, Doris had that ramrod character inside of her, which the audience could clearly see and believe, when she was steeling herself for something, and Renee just doesn't have that. Renee always seems, with her little-girl voice, like a dandelion waiting to be blown away by the wind. Who would believe her as a cutthroat businesswoman in New York City? Not this member of the audience! In her movies, Doris wore only one hat that bore any resemblance at all to the ever-more-ridiculous hats Renee wore in this film. Mostly, Doris went hat-less. That scene where Renee and Sarah Paulson, her galfriend, sit down to eat at a swank restaurant and leave their rigid, molded-to-the-head black hats on while dining is definitely not true-to-life. I was there in '63, and women rarely wore hats then (unlike the '50s), and when they did, they took them off for dining! It was considered to be polite to do so. Ewan McGregor is such a poor substitute for the huge, handsome, charming and comedically talented Rock Hudson that I don't know where to begin. Just on a physical level, Ewan is small, has a thick Scottish burr, and his face is covered in moles and wens. Ick! Rock was 6'4" (or was it 6'5"?), strongly built, and his face was flawlessly beautiful, with sensitive eyes. In Ewan's performance, how I missed that "twinkle-in-the-eye" that Rock had! Ewan didn't get me to smile, even once. Your other reviewer talked about "those types of films prevalent in those times." No, romantic comedies were NOT prevalent "in those times," in fact. Just going by the Academy Award winners alone, you had "Lawrence of Arabia," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Sweet Bird of Youth," "the Miracle Worker," and "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane" in 1962, and in 1963, you had "Tom Jones," "Lilies of the Field," "Hud," "How the West Was Won," and "Cleopatra," among others. Do you see a romantic-comedy trend here? No. Because there wasn't one. No one type of film was "prevalent" in the early '60s. Your previous reviewer erred, also, in stating that a character in this movie who referred to "the Farmer's Daughter" was referring, "of course," to Debbie Reynolds, a "pop icon of the '60s." Well, let's see....hmmmm... First, the only person who played "the farmer's daughter" in the '60s was Inger Stevens, who played the role on TV in the series of that name in 1963. Before that, Loretta Young played the role in a movie of that name in 1947. But Debbie Reynolds? Never. Debbie was also, unhappily, not an icon of the '60s (although she was still incontrovertibly famous and working as a lead actress). And when Ewan's character says he's an astronaut from Cocoa Beach, Florida, this is not necessarily from "I Dream of Jeannie." In the fantastic Hudson-Day "Lover Come Back," Rock's character tells Doris' character that every time he looks up in the sky, he thinks of his cousin SoandSo, who is circling the earth every xyzxyz seconds, which much impresses Doris. In fact, as a child of the '60s, I remember THAT much more than I remember the inferior "I Dream of Jeannie." David Hyde Pierce, as the Tony Randall character (Ewan's wealthy employer) does a 100% perfect job in the role. There is simply no improving on it. He is perfect, witty, adorable, neurotic, funny, and starchy -- all characteristics required of this character. Given their physical limitations, both Renee and Ewan, one can see, certainly acted, sang, and danced the hell out of these roles and did probably the best that any contemporary actors could do. They got the roles 85% right, which ain't bad. So kudos to them. I just wish the casting director had chosen leads more cinematically appealing than Renee and Ewan. "[Ewan] adds to his mystique." WHAT "mystique"? I am a female who very much likes male eye candy, and I did not discern any appreciable "mystique" being displayed by Ewan. Some, but very little. She (the casting director) hit the ball far, but didn't knock it out of the park, as they say. Again, perfect, absolutely perfect set design, costume design, and music. Could not have been better. I'm not sure that as a viewer, I really came to care about the two lead characters, who seemed, in the way they were written, to be cartoon characters. Actually, I DID care about David Hyde Pierce's character, but all the others, no. I did not believe them one moment. So that takes away immensely from the enjoyment of the film. All in all, it was a visual and aural delight, very light-hearted, a triumph of form over content. The plot seemed extremely contrived and unbelievable, unlike the Hudson-Day movies. Renee's character suggests in her book that women sublimate their sexual or emotional desires by eating chocolate. Oh, and by eating chocolate, women are supposed to end up looking like the reed-thin Renee? Hah! Who would believe that? Even in 1963, women weren't that stupid! Don't expect laughs that are character-driven or plot-driven. Just dig into the visual and aural delights, of which there are many.
Wild Card (2003)
A Surprising Find
I discovered this little show on a slow Sat. night. It is far and away the best thing I have seen on TV on a Sat. night. Joely Fisher is simply outstanding, someone who draws viewers because of her attractiveness, quirkiness, outspokenness, genuineness, and warmth. Here is someone we all kind of know, in situations we have all been in at one time or another. She makes them funny while her character tries to solve crimes. Thank goodness, the show is not overly family oriented and icky sweet, as most "family" shows are. Most of the show is adult and funny, and now I wouldn't miss Miss Fisher! She is a real character, and a loveable one at that.
The Appointment (1969)
At Least It's Eye Candy!
While I appreciate the previous person's comments, this is not a great movie. It's a movie about jealousy and possession, and haven't we all seen too many movies about that? (Lifetime channel, anyone?) Watch this movie if, for no other reason, to see Anouk Aimee and Omar Sharif at their most beautiful. O.K., so Anouk's character is rather vapid and insipid. Who CARES? Anouk is a world-class beauty (as she STILL is; see "Festival in Cannes") and as feminine as feminine gets. And Omar's EYES in this movie! Wow! You could easily drown in the mysterious dunes of the Sahara just staring at those Egyptian eyes! So, see it for the eye candy. And, no, I'm not ashamed. I like eye candy.
June Bride (1948)
Bitchy Sarcasm Between Sophisticates Works for Me!
A rare Betty Davis film that's funny. She works well playing off of Robert Montgomery. Biting, witty, satirical dialogue is very funny between the two. I would never imagine these two actors together, but in this film, it works! Could have been a cloying, icky sweet film but isn't. Wonderful supporting players (Mary Wickes, Sandra Gould, Jerome Cowan, Fay Bainter). Wish someone would write films like this again, films for smart people. Alas, we are left with monosyllabic grunts most of the time. For a break, rent this film!
Not Without My Daughter (1991)
Well done film about feminism
The rest of the reviewers are calling this film racist. It is not racist. It is feminist; that is, it takes the stance that women deserve the right to be independent, to make their own decisions, to go and act as they wish. Sorry. Is that racist? Most reviewers are Iranian or pro-Islam --- that is, anti-feminists. That means that they basically feel that women are as low as snakes or pigs and deserve to be treated as same. Women are not possessions. Women will not be dictated to. Women are highly intelligent, sentient beings who can think as they wish. Period. Obviously, this concept eludes all the Iranian and pro-Islamic reviewers of this movie. Sally Field did a WONDERFUL job in this movie and, no, she was not sniveling, and her voice was usually soft and wonderful. Being assertively independent is not being contentious; it is just standing up for your right as a human being that God loves and wants to, excuse the expression, be all that you can be. The latter does not include being subservient to men. Period. If this bugs you, of course, don't see this film! It's as simple as that. Men and women are equal in every way. Period. Also, I know many, many Iranians and live in what is called The Persian Gulch, so don't tell me I don't know any Iranians. In my neighborhood, that's ALL I know. The difference is, around my neighborhood, they're all Jews, very different from Moslems. However, there IS a cultural overlay of the woman being inferior. This is blatant sexism and shows hatred and fear of women and their inherent power as women. Get over it, guys! Women ARE powerful, and they will REMAIN powerful! And, frankly, I know a lot of Iranians, and Moslems, and Jews who even LIKE powerful women! Good movie. Go see it.
The Shooter (1995)
Pure Eye Candy
Although this film is not interesting for its acting or its story line, you must see it (even with the sound off) if only for the absolutely gorgeous set design, lighting design, and cinematography, which combine to make this film an eye-popping piece of eye candy. It helps that the filmmakers had the beautiful old city of Prague to film in, with its rich architectural history, romantic interiors, cobblestone streets, etc. I wanted to print out almost every scene in the film and then frame them for my walls, so gorgeous were almost all the frames of film. Try it for this! You'll love it!
Erotic, light-hearted travelogue; spicy & fun.
As I remember it (not having seen it since 1976), this film was lots of fun, with beautiful scenery of France and Turkey, and full of eroticism. It's about the erotic awakening and escapades of a young French girl who hitchhikes to Turkey. The '76 Filmex had to put on a second showing, so popular was this film at that exposition. Several of my friends still remember this film fondly -- after 23 years!
Into the Night (1985)
An amusing little film.
This is the ultimate movie for Angelinos suffering from insomnia and/or Angelinos who are just "night people." Night wanderer Goldblum starts at LAX, then goes on to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Marina del Rey, Trousdale Estates, Malibu, etc. in this fun "chase" movie featuring at least 5 famous directors in small acting roles (see if you can spot 'em!). This is not "War and Peace," folks, and it wasn't meant to be. Leave your critical faculties behind, get out the popcorn, and just enjoy! Goldblum is amusingly droll as the wretched insomniac who gets sucked into Michelle Pfeiffer's dangerous shenanigans, and the glorious Irene Papas is superbly villanous and beautiful as the Persian Godmother. It's a hoot!
Women in Love (1969)
After almost 30 years, I still find this movie to be exquisite.
One of the other commenters stated that this film was based on a Thomas Hardy novel. Hardly! This is novelist D.H. Lawrence (and, incidentally, director Ken Russell) at his best. The cinematography, lighting, set design, and composition are stupefyingly gorgeous. And the film delves deep, deep into the hearts and minds of intelligent people and romantic relationships (heterosexual and homosexual). Glenda Jackson is (to use the adjective in current favor) awesome. Anyone truly interested in film has to see this one for all its many wonderfulnesses.