10 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
'Io ballo da sola' é il migliore film bella mai...
26 June 1999
'Stealing Beauty' is more aptly named with its American title, than its Italian one, 'I Dance Alone', for reasons both intentional, and not. As is with most Bertolucci works, this film is more cinema than plot.

One cannot argue that a visit to Tuscany, regardless of motive, is a wonderful experience. Bertolucci has effectively captured the beauty of the Italian countryside, and brought it to the audience. He has "stolen beauty", so to speak. I believe the title speaks more of Lucy's portrait, though. ;o)

Some films have made me think, or changed my way of thinking. Some films have made me feel something. However, no other film has caused me follow in its footsteps. Being from Italy, but leaving as a very small child, this country has always been of both interest and personal mystery to me. Not long after seeing 'Stealing Beauty', at age 20, I jetted off to Italy, and spent a wonderful few weeks with some old friends.

If you're looking for 'splosions, or a story on the plot complexity level of 'Lost Highway', don't come looking here. The Italian lifestyle is usually one that isn't so loud and rushed as one will find elsewhere. The feeling you get from spending a day sitting in three places, dining, and sleeping in total peace just can't be explained. However, Bernardo Bertolucci has harvested that feeling, and offers a little slice to all those who will accept it. Woe to those who reject 'Stealing Beauty'.
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To Live (1994)
I could spend the rest of my life watching their lives...
16 June 1999
'To Live' is an epic film that defies definition or genre. It's the story of the struggle for balance in life. The life of this family is thrown down from so high, only to come back up to a happy median. They are so plagued with tragedy and blessed with fortune, as is life.

The regret and hope you see in these people makes you just love them. I could spend the rest of my life watching their lives.

Zhang Yimou not only knows how to create a masterpiece on film, he knows where to end it. Movies should "end", not have an "ending". The only appropriate "ending" for a movie is death or apocalypse, because only then is there no more. However, Zhang Yimou brought us to a point where the movie ends, and we know that life will continue in the same fashion that it always has: with inconsistencies in joy and pain.

This is, by far, one of the ten best films EVER made, and, I feel, Zhang Yimou's best work.

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One word... 'Hopelessness'
12 June 1999
'Marie Baie des Anges' is a gorgeous and tragic film. It's the story of two young people caught in a drain of circumstances, destined to meet at the bottom. Hope is not to be found anywhere for these two except in each other. It takes sacrificing everything for them to see that.

This movie truly touched me. There is rarely a "happily ever after" in life, and this film is a sock in the face to those who believe that there is. Disaster follows these two very closely, even at the height of their love.

This is one of those movies that sinks in slowly, but sinks in very deep. Halfway through, you'll be bored, and want to shut it off. Don't do it. Watch the entire film (in one sitting), and it will stick with you for the rest of your days.

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Lolita (1997)
A traumatic viewing experience...
12 June 1999
The first time I saw this movie was in Palo Alto. I was in a small, one-screen theater with the girl that I loved, and had loved for a long time. She goes to school there, and I was visiting. We both wanted to see 'Lolita', but only she had read the book. I had to drive 500 miles back to San Diego immediately after seeing the film, but I wanted to see it with her, anyway.

I didn't know what to expect. You can always rely on Jeremy Irons to play that passionate character that ends out getting crushed. I don't think he ever did it better than he did in 'Lolita'.

Before this film, only one movie ever made me cry, and that was 'Grave of the Fireflies'. By the time this film ended, the tears were streaming, and fought them hard.

After seeing 'Lolita', I can't even hear the name 'Lolita' without feeling love, beauty, sadness, and pain in my heart.

Seeing Humbert try to rekindle his lost love through the illusion of his relationship with a curious young girl was just crushing. He was a lover... a lover that fell for the charms of a nymphet.

This is movie perfection. The performances are astounding. The script is excellent, devastating, and beautiful. The music is simply wonderful. The cinematography, set design, extras, and costumes make you feel like you're in a Norman Rockwell painting.

'Lolita' is a stunning tragedy, that will find a place in your heart, as long you open up to it.

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Fall (1997)
Beautiful tragedy, ironically realistic...
12 June 1999
A taxi cab driver and a supermodel? Sounds like a stupid romantic comedy. But if it's titled "Fall", it can't be too funny... so it gets a view, after a recommend. Boy, did I get more than I bargained for.

Viewing 'Lolita' for the first time was a tragic experience for me. I never thought I'd see anything take me down harder. 'Fall' broke every bone in my body when it threw me down.

A taxi cab driver and a supermodel? Completely unrealistic. Yet, this film came across as VERY convincing. We know this relationship can't and won't work, but that doesn't keep two people from becoming madly in love with each other.

This film has THE BEST script of any movie to date. The performances were perfect. I felt like I was just watching two people who were truly in love.

If you can handle the steep decline of 'Fall', then you simply can't miss this one.

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Lost Highway (1997)
The nexus of worlds, the allayment of order...
12 June 1999
"Art should allay the fiction of order."

-Steve Schieberl

David Lynch has done just that.

A man denies reality, and does not adhere to consequence. He creates his own reality... inviting danger into his life. He tries to control a woman with a wild spirit.

'Lost Highway' takes you out of your seat and into a world where time and space are completely out of control. David Lynch presents us with the story's clues, and leaves it to the audience to make sense of it. In essence, it is a painting without words... it has definite reason, but is left open for interpretation.

David Lynch gives us a mystery, not a mystery movie.

For one of, if not THE, most incredible films ever made, 'Lost Highway' is a HIGHLY recommended view.

NOTE: I believe I've cracked the 'Lost Highway' mystery. > 'Lost Highway' is not for the faint of brain. Your friends might say 'Lost Highway' requires no brain, but they simply aren't using theirs. ;o)
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Heavy (1995)
The BEST film ever made...
12 June 1999
Alone in the silent dark, late at night. That's how 'Heavy', and pretty much any good movie, should be viewed. 'Heavy' captures and translates emotion like nothing else.

What drives an artist crazy is being misunderstood. The artist feels something that he understands, but can't explain. He can only relate his feeling through the manifestation of his own thoughts and emotions. James Mangold's 'Heavy' successfully makes himself heard and understood.

'Heavy' gives the intent viewer not a story, but an emotion. We feel the overwhelming power of loneliness in these stagnating lives, and see tragedy arouse a glimpse of hope and progression.

'Heavy' isn't something you see... it's something you feel. 'Heavy' is the goal film makers have tried to attain since the invention of motion pictures. James Mangold has created the most extraordinary work of art to ever embrace the screen.

Turn out the lights. Shut out the noise. All alone... enter the ethereal, quiet, and emotional world of 'Heavy'.
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Man Bites Dog (1992)
Have you ever been snuffed?!
12 June 1999
Killing without conscience. It sounds like a rare occurrence that ends up being the title for a story on 20/20. 'Man Bites Dog' digs a hole filled with something that we are all afraid of, and throws us right in.

We laugh at absurdity. To take a drastic action such as a brutal murder and think nothing of it is very absurd, indeed. You can't help but laugh. If you can't laugh, you're a victim of sensationalism.

This film isn't so wise as it is logical. It isn't so intelligent as it is witty. It makes sense for it to be so, though. 'Man Bites Dog' takes you off your high horse and drags you down to a place where you never thought you'd stoop. Down in this hole, you're not going to find vast wisdom and intelligence. You're going to find reality dressed in its harshest outfit.

'Man Bites Dog' will make you uncomfortable. Then it will make you accept the harshness of reality, and laugh at it. Then it will show reality's ugliest guise. Then you will see justice served to the horror.

Ben's nonchalant attitude towards senseless violence is the funniest and most eye-opening thing you may ever see. It's basically saying, "You're screwed, make the best of it"... so we do.

We laugh until we are taken to that unbearable place. We are taken to an area of this pit that is too deep to reach, too dark for courage, and too horrible to be desired.

This comes in the form of the "controversial" rape/torture/mutilation scene. This movie needs this scene. Without it, we might walk away with a bloodlust. We can relate to Ben until he takes a step over the edge. When he comes back, we see someone else... someone that we loathe.

Then we see him, and all that encompasses him, get destroyed.

We walk away from this film with new knowledge. We've been taken to that hole in the ground that we've tried so hard to avoid, yet trampled upon the entire time. We escape from this hole knowing where we must go, and why we keep are heads up as high as we can.

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Blue Velvet (1986)
More than meets the eye...
12 June 1999
There is far more to 'Blue Velvet' than meets the eye. You can't label this as drama, satire, or black comedy. It just doesn't work.

'Blue Velvet' is an example of our world's disarray. This film is VERY genius in its portrayal. We see a hokey, innocent town that yields a dark secret.

The symbolism is great. White picket fences, waving fireman, hokey acting, and a sunny day show the apparent innocence. But a stroke, black insects, a candle getting blown out, etc. show us something else.

I love how when we see the innocence, everything is hokey. The music, acting, dialogue... everything. But when the darkness appears, everything becomes serious. The script improves, the acting is better... everything. That's something that was missed by most viewers.

David Lynch is brilliant, but he also has a great sense of humor. Jokes aren't funny... absurdity is funny.

Lightness and darkness seemingly coexist in this lumber town... each in their own place. When a curious fellow returns home, he disrupts the balance and the two forces go to war. Yet, we don't really even know which side he's on. I love how Jeffrey always wears black and white. I love all the symbology of this film.

If you haven't seen this yet, break away from the Hollywood cookie cutter movies and prepare to have your mind challenged and entertained.

Makes a fun party movie, too. ;o)

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Dune (1984)
The best science-fiction film ever made!
12 June 1999
Dune is simply the best science-fiction film ever made. This is the film that nearly all modern sci-fi films are modeled after. For those who have read the book, keep in mind that it takes far more than 137 minutes to read. Thus, much had to be dismissed from the book for this film. Not even the 190 minute version could cover the entire book. David Lynch did not so much convert the book to a movie, as he did create a beautiful and chilling masterpiece.
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