Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Hable con ella (2002)
What a movie experience I had last evening, seeing Talk To Her, Almodovar's recent offering for which he is up for a best-director Academy Award.
Seeing this fine film, I know why now.
It was clearly a masterpiece, masterworks from a master of the craft. The lushness, the richness of the film in color--and black-and-white--lent the film to a fine authenticity which is so badly lacking in many films today. It was as if he redefined the buddy flick genre, taking it somewhere completely different and in an elevated greater direction. Two men, one a nurse, the other a writer, meet up first in a theater during a ballet recital sitting next to each other, only to meet later in a hospital where women they each care deeply about are each in comas fighting for their respective lives. The way Almodovar set this up was a great hand-tipper as to what would be in this one.
If I may digress, it was not so much the women being downplayed--they NEVER are in the Almodovar films I have seen--but rather as it is the volume being turned up LOUDLY on the men here. It is male bonding from a different perspective, as the two women they love--one a ballerina with an angelic face, the other a bullfighter with a handsomely androgynous profile framing her female beauty--bring them together unexpectedly. But when they do come together, it is, in itself, a thing of beauty--as the rest of the film itself is.
I even enjoyed the B&W silent film in the midst which was very much in keeping of Almodovar's excellence. And the meshing of many art forms--dance, bullfighting, film, writing, photography, music--all draw you in with a presence which has you not only caring about the characters, but also having them stay with you long after the film ends.
Whather or not Almodovar will win Best Director remains to be seen as of this writing. However, I shall say this: THIS IS A DOUBLTESS MASTERWORK OF A MASTERPIECE FROM A MASTER DIRECTOR!
And I know when that is so: refering to a human being in that vernacular is not something I do with any kind of regularity.
Jump Tomorrow (2001)
I am not so all alone here after all!!!!
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Yes, I knew Jump Tomorrow was going to be a film worth seeing going into the theater yesterday per the reviews I had read on it prior. However, once I arrived at the theater, I realized just how true those movie reviews were.
This was, doubtlessly, one of the most funnest films I have seen in quite sometime. From the moment I was seated in my chair, I was up and running, cheering, laughing, ranting out LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From top-to-bottom, this film was a surefire winner!!!!!
I truly enjoyed Tunde Adebimpe in a star-making turn as George, the Nigerian-American man on the verge of his arranged marriage to a young woman (who herself is actually beautiful) from his native country. When she comes through a day early to arrive for their wedding, and George misses her at the airport, that's when the fun starts.
In running into a beautiful Latina woman named Alicia (Natalia Verbeke, who looks like someone who works in my building!!!), George is instantly smitten by her stunning beauty. Dazed, George then meets a jilted Frenchman named Gerard (Hippolyte Girardot) who is trying to hard to look for love. But sees it nonetheless in George's eyes once they end up at a party Alicia inadvertently invited George to--and George turns around and asks Gerard to accompany him. From there, everything is crazy in this fun-filled comedy.
Not only is this film a romantic comedy, but a road-trip movie as well, giving you two films in one. Not only did I find this film to be a refreshing breath of fresh air, but I also loved the ambiance and the sanitariness of it all: the film had something of a late 1960s-early 1970s feel to it and the music instigated the motiff as it sounded as from that period as well, which only led to its ensuing charm. All though the flick, although it was obvious George--who later called himself Jorge (his name in Spanish)--was engaged and Alicia had a boyfriend she clearly did entirely like (James Wilby, also well-done as an egotistical, self-absorbed dude), no questions those two were destined to be together.
It was great to see George blossom throughout the course of the film from the stiff, uptight sort he was at the onset. That is a credit I give to Adebimpe's work, which reminded me of a quiet, understated dignity harking back to Sidney Poitier of the late 1960s-early 1970s. Adebimpe's bespectacled look also served him well. I can see him being leading man material for someone looking for a new millennium spin on the brand of decorum Sidney used to bring to his work during his heydey.
I also enjoyed Verbeke in her leading lady role as Alicia. She also wore glasses, but in going with contacts on ocassion in the film, she also presented a certain type of rawness which only added to George's burning desire for her. May she be a mami chula who deservingly gets her choice calls in the time to come.
As for Girardot, may he be able to somehow get some supprting actor accolades for his part in this one. As with the hero and heroine, who also were cheering for him because he was so endearing, you wanted him to win!!!!
All-in-all, a fine job out by rookie writer/director James Hopkins. If this is an indication of things to come from this fine man, then I predict he will have a long, productively satisfying career. This film was, indeed, a refreshing breath of fresh air. In fact, I loved it so much...I'm already ready for the DVD!!!!! And with a rating of 8.3 in 39 imdb votes before I casted my 10, I am glad to see this film is having the effect it is!!!! I an recommending this one to anyone and anybody who likes movies as much as I do!!!! Already one of my all-time favorites AFTER ONE VIEWING!!!!!!!!!!
10+++++++++++ out of a possible 10
Spike Lee strikes again!!!!!!!! Just as he did with She's Gotta Have It, Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X, Spike goes beyond the jugular and tries to make us all take notice. And it appears as if he has succeeded. I know he has with me.
Great start with Damon Wayans' opening narration (great use of this mostly-misused Wayans brother's actual super talents) setting the stage of his life he was in as he began to lay out the film before us. And Jada Pinkett-Smith was a fine voice of contentious reason, never letting up from start-to-finish as well as seeing the truth of what was really happening all around everyone. And Michael Rappaport was fine in embodying a latter-day white Negro (as a white person who partakes in black culture with his talk, lingo, interests, passions as well as actually marrying black, as he disclosed of doing in this role), not unlike the white male who was part of the Mau Maus either. And then, there was Tommy Davidson (talented like Wayans in the afore-mentioned vernacular) and Savion Glover (who can act as well as dance superbly; GREAT CHOREOGRAPHY), who go from poor street performers to the hottest commodity on television as a result. In Wayans' original intents backfiring on him, the monster is out of control and regrets run rampant, turning the film from laugh-out-loud funny to stunningly-dead serious as the film wears on.
If this was Spike's intent, to show us one thing in the beginning and turn it into something else altogether different at the end, he more than succeeded. In the process, he serves up an indictment on our society with regard to the price society as a whole not only pays on racism, but success as well. When these issues bring on the conflict they knowingly can, it creates hard feelings which can lead to the destructiveness this film eventually presented. Though on a lesser scale in She's Gotta Have it, the downward defection on Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X (even knowing how that one would end) and (YES!) Summer Of Sam is no less impressing with regard to how Spike wants us to stand up and take notice about how badly our differences can lead to further distrust and misunderstanding where there indeed needs to be better trust and understanding. In bringing this out uncompromisingly, Spike succeeds in once again making folks take heed where heed does not want to be taken. That may well be a factor with regard to whether or not this film is nominated for the awards it deserves to be nominated for. (A multi-win storm is befitting a film of this stature, not limited to, but including: any Best Actress award (Pinkett-Smith); any Best Actor Awards for Wayans, Glover or Davidson; Best Director (Spike deserves it); and....BEST PICTRE!!!) It was also great to hear some fresh Stevie Wonder songs in this one; befittingly relevant as Stevie always is!!!!!
Like American Beauty, which held up a collective mirror to some of the hypocrisies this country takes for granted, Bamboozled follows suit as well in a major way. May this film be seen in that same venue as well. For all that it is and it has done, it certainly does deserve the comparison.
Cape Fear (1991)
A old-time thriller updated VERY well
I truly enjoyed this one. Never before had I seen Robert DeNiro at his creepiest. He was indeed truly menacing as well as believable. Great shape he was in as well as the southern drawl with which he spoke in this one. As for the others, I thought Nick Nolte was absolutely strong in this one as a man tormented and driven by his past as well as on-going family problems.
Jessica Lange was very strong, so strong to be there for her husband and daughter as well as be willing and able to stand up to Nick at the same time. But who surprised me here: Juliette Lewis. Great insight she had at top and finish, as well as a pained tormention from having to endure her parent's constant arguments. Very well-done. Very believable. One that drew me in from start-to-finish with the loud, bright musical score which harkened back to old-time Hollywood thrillers as in days of yore. With DeNiro's sadisticness, Nolte's torn drivenness, Lange's hardened womanly strengh and Lewis' tormented enduringness, a movie which is one crazy thrill-ride from start to finish. A scored this one highly, 10 of 10. To me, the rating should have been 10+. As far as I was concerned, it was THAT great!
Love & Basketball (2000)
Everybody's All-American sepiaized x 2
Instantly, when I watched this one, I could not help but harken back to Everybody's All-American, which had sports as an undercurrent to the central love story between Gavin and Babs streching a full quarter-century in spanning four decades. Even with football enveloping all which had entwined their lives, the humaneness of those two characters could not be discounted, especially with Babs emerging into a more stronger character who came into her own as a woman and an individual toward the film's end.
I bring that up to start my assessment of Love and Basketball. Yes, there were differences, of course, with Quincy (Omar Epps, of whose work I have been a fan of since "Juice" in 1992) and Monica (Sanaa Lathan, who has seemingly come from nowhere to emerge as a serious talent to be reckoned with on the screen!) both being African-American. And instead of football, the sport was basketball. And instead of one athlete, there were two, as Monica was a superior talent on par with Gavin Gray and Quincy McCall. And the story, of course, was set more in the recent past, from 1981 to the present.
Nonethelss, this was also a film which touched my heart. I loved the depth which both actors in this film displayed, showing them not only as athletes and people, but also as they were with regard to their families as well. And the depths from where they came to where they ultimately went, from their beginnings as children to the adults they grew up into, was nothing short of amazing. I saw this not as a "black" movie, but rather as a movie about African-Americans and their dreams, desires, pains and triumphs as individuals and as a couple.
The way this was broken down into four quarters is a testament to Gina Prince-RockByTheWood's astute writing and directing. And the supporting cast was on-mark also, from Alfre Woodard and Debbi Morgan on through to Dennis Haysbert and Harry J. Lennix...as well as Tyra Banks in her smaller yet significant role as the film bore on down the stretch. All-in-all, a film definitely worth the see. I came away with a warm smile not only on my face, but in my heart as well.
Surviving the Game (1994)
Crazy action fun on the run
This was a movie I fell in favor of instantly, seeing a man on the run for his life from a band of sadistic hunters whose prey are humans rather than animals. It was so very amazing to see Ice-T as the man on the run who gave the hunters more than what they had all bargained for. Even the collection of hunters involved, headed up by Rutger Hauer and featuring the likes of an esoteric cast such as Charles S. Dutton, John C. McGinley, William McNamara (an actually unwilling participant in this ordeal), Gary Busey and F. Murray Abraham make for a band of human flesh hunters enough to make anybody run for cover. All-in-all, the type of movie for anyone to see for an idea of how the human mind can extend to the point of insanity with regard to whose life is important versus whose life is not. As the slogan of the movie goes, Never underestimate a man--or a woman(!)--who has nothing to lose.
Blind Faith (1998)
True family values and what a family values
Yes, this was a film I had always wanted to see, but failed to do so initially. When I finally got my chance to do so, I finally realized all that I had missed.
This story, actually set in 1957 New York, revolved around the Williamses, a middle-class African-American family.
The eldest brother, Charles (Charles S. Dutton), was an NYPD Officer with aspirations to become New York's first-ever Negro police sergeant. The middle brother, John (Courtney B. Vance), was an attorney from whose vantage point this story is narrated. The youngest brother, Eddie (Kadeem Hardison), is a jazz musician.
However, that is where the similarities halt. Charles, married with three children, is a by-the-book, strict father whose actions and interest in his job and overt willingness to belong to the white establishment, at even the cost of his own family, take on the squalid decorum of a white man's black man, overshadowing whatever actual compassion he may have. John is the aptly-placed middle brother who is loyal to Charles, yet somewhat torn by his devotion to Charles and the variances of his younger brother, Eddie, the free-thinking, spirited, open-minded individual who easily sees Charles for who and all he really is in ways John cannot--and actually, at first, refuses to. It is Eddie, coincidentally, who turns the tide for the family's--and the film's--complexion with his revelating disclosure about all that has happened and why.
When Charles, Jr. (Garland Whitt, who was also featured alongside Denzel Washington in "The Hurricane") is arrested for a murder he was actually glad to have committed (we learn the reason why as the story unfolds), Charles Sr. becomes more committed to going along with the NYPD conspiracy behind the truth of the murder rather than being more of a father and standing up for his son as a real father would--and should. When no other attorney will take the case of defending Charles Jr., John decides to risk his practice by defending his nephew. Invariably, it is Charles Sr.'s wife, Carol (Lonette McKee, in one of the finest, strongest and courageous performances ever given by an African-American woman on celluloid EVER!!!!) who takes the stronger stand and rises to the occasion to stand up to her selfish, broodish husband to be, as the mother, THE parent to her son that Charles Sr., as a father, is not!!!!!!
I can realize why this movie did not get the attention it rightfully deserved: it is a true slice of African-American life that black folks are too afraid to acknowledge about themselves on screen. To me, this movie spoke more loudly of true black family values than Soul Food did (and did well). Even today, Black America is too ashamed, frightened and embarrassed to openly realize and see sexual and gender minorities (of which I am one, as a transgendered black woman) as part of their reality, at times conveniently hiding out behind the guise of religion as an excuse of not having to deal with many issues (besides this one) openly. Although set in the late 1950s, this story is very real and still so very true today even in this new millennium we are now living in. This movie, concurrently, shows us through each of the three brothers, what we at times choose how we would like to be (Dutton), what we would wish to be (Vance) and how great we as people really are and can truly be (Hardison). As for Ms. McKee, she embodies the rock-solid strength of true, unconditional love--a real mother in every sense of the word.
I would recommend this film to any one who wants to take a hard, cold yet true concurrent look of how a family should and should not be in a way that embodies yet discourages family dysfunction at the same time. Also of importance is how much conformity and not taking a proper stand when a true stand is needed can cost even our loved ones.
Raven Hawk (1996)
A woman exacting revenge for a crime she did not commit
Great film. Very underappreciated by those who saw it apparently, but not this viewer. I loved the way this movie starts out, focusing not only on a Native American family standing up for their rights concerning environmental infringement on their reservation, but also giving a glimpse on how contemptuously Native Americans have been treated in this country as well throughout its history. And when the young girl is charged with the murder of her parents, in a crime she clearly did not commit, she quietly awaits the day she can get revenge as well as clear her name. Becoming an introvert in ways she was not necessarily so when the movie began, the girl grows up not only into a beautiful woman, but also one powerfully built as well--hence the former Ms. Olympia Rachel McLish's still-beautiful body figuring nicely into this role. Not only did her muscles serve her well in getting her revenge on those who wronged her, but also for Ms. McLish's stunts as well, which, by the way, were all her own. Just as David Janssen did a lot of his own physical work in "The Fugitive," so did Rachel here also, giving each respective character authenticity in their chases. And if anyone, by the way, loved "The Fugitive"--in either classic television or latter-day movie remake form (and for that matter, "U.S. Marshals, a sequel)--then there's no reason for this film to be bagged at all. Why, there is even a Gerard figure present in this film as well, making things compellingly and interesting. A Fuge ripoff, you may say? Nah. Just another movie doubtlessly inspired by it on one level or another--not unlike many others in its genre which have sprung up after it. Open your minds, check it out and see a woman on the run fighting for her justice for a change--especially one as compelling as Rachel McLish is in this role.
Wild in the Streets (1968)
Really radically far-out!!!!
Very much in and of its time. But outrageously good nonetheless. I truly enjoyed the acting by everybody involved--particularly Christopher Jones, Shelley Winters, Diane Varsi, Ed Begley, Sr., Hal Holbrook AND Richard Pryor.
Also a significant key to the film was the music of the legendary songwriting duo of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, featuring what was, in my estimation, very unsung (excuse the pun) gems which rank right up with ALL their
classics. Just as the recent political satire, "Bulworth", spoke to its times (which are still very much current, by the way), this movie does exactly the same thing.
The clear-cut divisions of generationalism are clearly conspicuous in this film. This movie captured the spirited groove of the late '60s when youth was roaring loudly and taking a stand against the establishment.
For anyone looking for a outrageous take of some of the events of the time, coupled with a hard, aching, laugh-out-loud reaction, this is as great a place as any to go.
Night Chase (1970)
Great thrilling human drama
This was a movie I had the pleasure of finding one day on video at a multi-media outlet store on a summer evening in 1995. It is about a man who shot his wife's lover not only over their affair, but also the decline of his marriage and subsequent family life as well. Having been a life-long David Jannsen fan since the classic TV series, "The Fugitive", it was great to see him on the run in something other than a maniacal search for the one-armed man. Jannsen was a master at always being able to evoke deep, hard emotion in ways few HUMANS have been able to, and just as it worked so well as Dr. Kimble, so it does here as Adrian Vico. Equally impressive is Yaphett Kotto--another personal favorite--as Ernie Green, the cab driver who subsequently becomes a reluctant hostage when Vico discloses his plans for revenge to him. Ernie is quite sympathetic, yet only willing to take so much from the gun-toting Adrian (who has promised to use his gun to stop anybody--the police, Ernie, etc.--who gets in his way.) Though this is a television movie from 1970, it is a timeless piece that would work well even on the verge of a new millennium. For the problems of an Adrian Vico are quite common place in today's society, especially with family values being placed so highly by so many people. Although these two co-stars were men, it could also go both ways--with a man and a woman, or even two women as well. And just as the cast was interracial here, it could go over in that same vernacular even today. And the couple could even be gay or lesbian as well as heterosexual. A must see, not just for these two splendid actors, but also for what can happen to a man (or even a woman) who feels all is lost, has nothing to lose and is willing to do anything it takes--even commit murder--to exact a measure of revenge against those he feels wronged him.