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Latest scholarly study of the film's flaws
In support of R.S.H. Tryster and his response to Eyal Sivan's defense, allow me to add this very latest scholarship and observation from a highly renowned university professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies, Deborah E. Lipstadt.
In her 2011 book "The Eichmann Trial,"(Next Book/Schocken, NY), she indicts this "putative documentary" for its fatal procedural flaws, describing how the filmmakers "spliced together different portions of the trial without letting their viewers know that they had done so. They mixed the audio from one portion and the visuals from another. They inserted laughter where there is none. They selectively quoted from witnesses' testimony, thereby distorting the import of their words. In so doing they created scenarios that never occurred." (Lipstadt provides a detailed example of this.)
"Most reviewers," Lipstadt continues, "unaware of the film's creative approach to the facts, took what they saw on the screen as a legitimate portrayal of the trial..." which it clearly as NOT.
Unfortunately, this film is not worth ten review lines, unless one is aching to explore contemporary ennui and anomie in--of all places--Hollywood, from--of all perspectives-- that of a depressed actor. If "Nowhere"...I mean "Somewhere," could possibly be something that somehow could be justifiably construed as a metaphor for the state of modern-day American life--empty and aimless--then there might actually be a reason for this movie to exist, beyond the auteur ambitions of its creator. But there is little if anything authentically American about Johnny Marco, except his identity as a separated or divorced father who doesn't see his child often, and drives a foreign car. He is merely a creature of Sophia Coppola America--a celebrity insider with a suggestively Italian-American surname who seems to be adored in Italy. This fact, along with the scenes in Milan and the ethnic Coppola- brand appeal, would account for the movie's lofty praise at a major Italian event, the Venice Film Festival. The (in)action begins with candidly precise foreshadowing that could just as readily stand in as the ending--a man going around in circles in a vehicle much more wastefully powerful than necessary. America in 2010? No, not really. Just a sad, pathetically irrelevant actor in a Ferrari.
The Defiant Ones (1958)
Holds up very well, almost 50 years later!
Wonderful dialogue and perfect script where virtually every word carries weight and expands character and story. It's just a shame that the only DVD apparently available(?) of this film is devoid of any extra features, especially commentary by Poitier and Curtis or Bikel which would prove fascinating. In 2008, when the film celebrates its 50th year there should be a fully loaded DVD commensurate with the picture's value.
Terrific acting and writing, virtually low-key and underplayed compared to most hyperbolic American cinema today. What's amusing. but also a bit too distracting however, is the plot hole which has our escapees smoking cigarettes just minutes after they were totally submerged and soaked crossing a raging river. No way they would have had any dry matches and smokes! But hey, that's just that whole nutty, wacky, crazy chain gang thang going on...
The Pianist (2002)
Awesome! Makes one forget Schindler's List.
You can imagine the reluctance of big-studio and money people to make a film directed by a felon still persona non grata in the US, centered on a protagonist who is much more a scurrying rat of a survivor than any kind of hero. But all such considerations are irrelevant when one experiences The Pianist.
The power of this film lies in its ability to once again shock viewers familiar with the Holocaust and cinematic accounts of it such as Shoah (1985) and Schindler's List (1993). Once again, and seemingly for the first time, it leaves one astonished not only at the brutality of humanity is capable of, but also of the miraculous ability people have to survive the deepest psychological wounds of incomprehensible trauma.
Adrien Brody's performance is a wonder, especially since he seems to appear in every scene, if not every frame, of this epic tale.
Oscars, please, for Brody and director Roman Polanski, and a lesson to "Gangs of New York" director Martin Scorsese in how to forge a grand-scale, historical drama into a masterpiece.
Absolutely agree with shortcomings brought to fore by wilbrifar
But also have to admire acting and directing and resulting passionate credibility which envelops this film, despite its hackneyed story, esp. by Liotta and Patric, whose performances warrant Oscar consideration. Again, though, do wish this extraordinary display of talent had a real, new cop story to tell. And speaking of telling, will someone please explain the subplot blip to me in which Oak's(?) 10-year-old daughter appears to have been given up for pimping?!
Real Life (1979)
Along with Spinal Tap...
...this is one of the funniest American movies of the late 20th century, and like 'Tap' it also mines the rich vein of documentary-film arrogance. Brooks' strength as a comic observer lies in his self-obsessed insincerity, a man of riotously extreme unction. It's almost impossible to pick a favorite scene from this spoof, especially for industry insiders.
Brilliant classic tear jerker
But more restrained and understated than any Western version would ever be. Saw the subtitled English version entitled, "The Way Home" in NYC screening in October, 2002, and was so moved by this timeless mini-masterpiece that could probably flourish and impress even as a silent film. Try to find it and see it and spread the word. Every older American should see it, and every younger one, too. In other words, it's an ageless wonder.
The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002)
Wonderfully evocative and informative
A beautifully directed and photographed tribute to an authentic legend, which does not contain a single conventional interview shot originally for the film, only archival footage and a tour de farce closing-credits impersonation by devotee Dustin Hoffman.
Road to Perdition (2002)
"Haunting," yes, but only in an exploitative, perniciously subtle way
Yes, I agree, it is not possible to discuss "Perdition" without praising Conrad Hall's cinematography. But, no, this is not a "cautionary tale about self-destruction," nor is it "richly rewarding." It is richly exploitative--yet another young (and, coincidentally, foreign) filmmaker's futile attempt to come to grips with the endemic nature of American violence. But this visually stunning movie stuns more with its cynical pretentions, leaving the viewer feeling used and resentful. After countless bodies are sprayed and bloodied--including that of his mother, brother and father-- a totally unaffected 12-year-old witness and participant blithely scampers off with his dog to the elegiac haven of a proto-Ma and Pa Kent like some impervious young superhero.
In attempting to explain or expose the roots of stereotypically violent American machissmo, director Mendes merely extends a trend he purports to abhor.
His movie is "Paper Moon" meets "Bonnie & Clyde" meets "The Professional"--and when this expensive, much-anticipated new suit of emperor's clothing is unveiled, nothing of value, honesty or insight is visible.
The Prime Gig (2000)
Any dramatic film where the plot is about money...
...and the protagonist's name is "Penny Wise," should be avoided. Make that banned. As in "Bandon DeRun," for the hero of a rock film. Or, "Hi Nune" for a western. Or...you get the idea. This movie is about telephone scams, this review is about movie scams. Viewer Beware!