Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Good Wife (2009)
An excellent although Imperfect drama
This is a consistently good show full of interesting characters with interesting story arcs and well written courtroom dialogue and situations that make you question what is right and what is wrong -- Does a handsome, well spoken drug dealer deserve legal protection? What about a charming psychopath who probably did kill his wife? However, it is also a show with silly mistakes (incorrect time zones and inconsistent back stories such as how many years earlier had Diane Lockhart founded her firm - 9 years or 13 years?). It's worst problem is the unbelievable passion between the characters Alicia and Will - at no point do the two actors have any chemistry. This leaves a hole in the story arc as the viewer really doesn't care what happens between them and are relieved when that story line finally subsides. What is far more interesting is why the main character can not either reconcile or move on from her husband. Her hot and cold forgiveness makes his affairs understandable... Some of the recurring characters are fascinating, but some are under-developed, like the children. A couple of characters are perhaps overused like Kalinda who dresses like a Star Trek ensign from the 1960s and is an omnisexual sleuth who charmlessly wedges her way into crime scenes and coerces people she has betrayed into repeatedly helping her with tips. I never watched this series when it was originally broadcast on TV (I was too busy with Mad Men, which shares MANY of the same story arcs...) but have now watched the entire series over the past month and while the entire series is excellent, season 5 stands out as the best season.
The audience I saw this film with were mesmerized. they sat still and silent in their seats until well into the credits. I know a lot of people won't like this film because it is slow, and the music is not a 1963 soundtrack (but for one song), and its not a sweeping biopic. It is about one very famous woman's life during three horrific days - with a few flashbacks. This is an intimate portrayal of Jackie's reaction and response to the events of JFK's death and burial.
Jackie is a masterpiece. Sarsgaard may not have been the best choice for Bobby and the music was tedious at times... but Portman captured the essence of Jackie. She showed how Jackie was trying to say and do the right things according to her role as the bereaved widow of the president, but simultaneously showed her as a grief stricken widow who wanted to crumble and hide away. I thought the film captured Jackie as a complex vulnerable, controlling, heartbroken, dutiful, drama queen (and I mean that in the best possible way!) She lost her husband, her job, her home - and all in front of cameras for posterity.
The director made some smart choices - rather than duplicating the scene of John John saluting (in that very studied, coaxed way), there is a scene where Jackie is bringing in a cake for his third birthday - the same day as his father's funeral. This is happening as her home is being packed up around her to make way for President Johnson. It is in screen shots like that, and in the extreme close-up of her in the back of the convertible in the moments after the shots were fired that the viewer is left spellbound.
We all know this story from an outside point of view, but this is the first time we see it from the inside.
Série Noire (2014)
Brilliant series about desperate writers
This series is a comedy/drama/thriller that follows two writers of a night time soap about the criminal and legal worlds. The writers decide they need to get more first-hand experience to inspire them to write a second season and end up embroiled in the criminal underworld.
Don't let the fact that this is a Canadian production and in French deter you from seeing this series - it is one of the best Canadian television series ever made (although Schitt's Creek and Corner Gas are great too.) Even though this is in French, it is still great with English subtitles. I am not fluent and had to read the subtitles (except when they swore -- that I know in French...) and it was great!
The First Monday in May (2016)
Fashion - Art or Business?
What I like about this documentary is that it unabashedly shows Anna Wintour and her colleagues express their perceptions of what is fashion, what is art and what is important in their lives. We observe Wintour's meetings with trembling underlings pushing endless cups of coffee at her, waiting to hear her snide comments about who is important and who is not and what will be done that day according to what she wants. Its hard to take Anna and her withering looks and Bolton's ill-fitted Thom Browne suits seriously. However, every industry is like this -- you could have a documentary about the New York Yankees, and everyone there would be just as serious about winning the pennant as these people are about creating a blockbuster exhibition.
Questions are raised from watching this film that make you think: Is fashion an art form? Does art have to be relevant to be taken seriously? Is it fine art or is it a commercial product?
Drop Dead Darling (1966)
Dreary, mean film with fabulous bits...
Its really hard to get through this film because the main character, played by Tony Curtis, is despicable -- he is a serial killer! However, this is a comedy and there are scenes in the film that are truly funny. In one of the funniest bits is Zsa Zsa Gabor playing his first wife. She didn't act in much, but this role was perfect for her and is hilarious to watch. Even better is a scene with Tony's character reflecting upon his youth and his adoptive aunt, played by Anna Quayle (a hugely under-appreciated comic actress who appeared in a good handful of films in the late 1960s). The scenes with Quayle are worth watching just by themselves, the rest of the film isn't...
I really think this series was developed as a rip off of Mad Men. Unfortunately, it is an exceedingly BORING attempt. It seems the only thing they really tried to change was the venue -- it takes place in an English hospital instead of a New York advertising agency. Another problem is that the viewer is thrown into the story line with far too many characters being introduced right off the bat and little character development. You feel like you have been dropped into the middle of the story and must have missed something important, like a previous episode. It's nice to know that the Brits aren't any better at adapting successful American shows than Americans are at adapting successful British shows.
A Murder of Crows (1998)
A Murdered film...
At the core of this film is a good plot and gimmick. Cuba Gooding wasn't bad in it, but the writing, directing, and some of the lesser actors were RIDICULOUSLY bad. I hope some day a different director remakes this film with the help of a writer who can write the missing scenes and build the suspense to what this should be - a nail biting court room drama. It is imperative that the audience not know whodunnit until the last scene. However, this film gives everything away half way through the film! The whole story should have been told through flashbacks during the courtroom trial. A major plot point is never explained properly and once the makeup and masks were discovered the movie was over - there was no thrill left in this thriller.
Antisemitic Nixon loved by Ben Stein?
This was a great documentary but I have to say that Ben Stein's comment "I don't think any president has been more wrongly persecuted than Nixon, ever. I just think he was a saint..." at which point he chokes up and removes his glasses to wipe his eyes, had me laughing because I thought he was making a joke! Until I realized he wasn't. I sat with my mouth open replaying what Stein had said.
I always thought Stein was funny, and I knew his politics ran to the right, but Nixon a saint? Stein is very touchy about anything that resembles an antisemitic comment, including a joke that includes a cliché Jewish character, so how can he support a president that was clearly antisemitic? (not to mention a drunk, a wife-beater, and a dog hater...) Did Nixon not say several times on the Whitehouse tapes something to the effect of "The Jews are out to get me"?
A Masterpiece by Jean Pierre Jeunet
This film is a masterpiece like Jeunet's earlier Amelie (which may be considered by some as better because it is funnier than this film). However, this film, with its horrific battle scenes, violent injuries and dramatic romance, is also filled with a tremendous amount of humour and pathos. Jeunet understands that life is really a balance of drama and comedy...
The cinematography, story, acting, directing, effects, costuming, sets, etc. are all phenomenal works of art to watch. My only complaint was that I got a bit lost with all the character names but I had to (and wanted to) watch it twice because my French isn't good enough to watch it without English subtitles.
Shut Eye (2016)
I got four episodes into this series before I called it quits. I really wanted to like it because the premise was fresh - the offspring of The Sopranos and Medium, but it fails.
The gangsters are American gypsies that have no redeeming qualities. They are evil bullies with bad taste - and they aren't even interestingly evil (although Isabella Rossellini tries her best, she has nothing in the script to work with.) The main characters are not believable - they are two dimensional and boring, and you don't care if they get killed off -- in fact you kind of hope for it.
The promise of some psychic element to the story barely appears in the first 4 episodes. Perhaps it becomes stronger as it goes on, but I grew impatient of the unfolding soap opera and the introduction of more conflict without resolve.
It wasn't worth the four hours I invested.