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a perfect film
I am not a critic and do not claim any expertise in the field of film, but I do watch a lot of movies, and I think that this one is truly perfect. I have never seen a movie where each character was so sublimely acted. Jim Broadbent and Alan Corduner blew me away. I knew Jim Broadbent was a great actor before, but I think this is the best role he has ever done. The script is nothing short of brilliant, and although I read that Mike Leigh has his actors ad-lib many lines, you can tell that there was a kind of harmony on the set between the actors, director and crew. It's truly one of the best films I have ever seen and one I could watch many, many times. It's a bit longer than your standard Hollywood flick, but of a far superior quality.
Pao Da Shuang Deng (1994)
don't be fooled
People may be compelled to think that just because this is a foreign film, it is a good film. This is in fact, a terrible movie, and don't be fooled by the "noble" subject matter. The love story is ridiculous and badly contrived, the acting is next to terrible, and the dramatic scenes are nothing short of raunchy. The only good thing I can say about this is that there are a few beautifully shot scenes, but there is usually something stupid happening in that scene, so you don't notice the background. I wondered to myself as I watched it how it could possibly have been successful enough to come to the United States.
pretty darn funny
True, this is not the best movie ever made. It is, however, extremely funny. One cannot truly realize why this is such a ridiculous movie until they know the the french culture. It is not a study in the class differences, it is to exaggerate the extreme opposite ends of the spectrum. The rich family is so stable it is almost hokey, and the poor family is so dysfunctional that they are almost stable. All of the comments about life are only to exaggerate the situation. I particularly love the scene in the church with the musical, it just goes to show how silly things can be. I don't watch this movie over and over for the plot, I watch it because every time you see it you notice something now that is characteristically French. Personally, I think it is great.
L'année dernière à Marienbad (1961)
I watched this movie for a class, and I must say, although artsy and such, it is too long and too drawn out to consider sitting through for more than a few minutes. The repeated dialogue, otherwise intriguing, is pretentious and exasperating. The only thing I really found interesting was the game they played with the matchsticks. I have yet to figure it out. Otherwise, I cannot believe that the ratings were so high on it.
The Day of the Locust (1975)
I finished watching this movie half an hour ago and I am still trembling, my heart still pounding. I am a great admirer of John Schlesinger and he has been one of my favorite directors since I saw Midnight Cowboy. But this just beats it all. It is the most horrifying movie I have ever seen. I am normally not a sympathizer with human characters in movies, but the end made me CRINGE. Donald Sutherland was perfect for his role and Karen Black made me feel such hate for her. There is nothing I would change in this movie. It is perfect, and beautiful, and hit with such force that I would probably never see it again, but I will remember every detail.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
if you think this is good, you should read the book
I have a few things to say about this movie. First of all, it was very good, and I like almost everything that Lasse Hallstrom directed. But I have problems with Juliette Lewis' performance. I saw the movie before reading the book, and I was entranced and practically fell over myself getting the book from the library. In the book, Becky is a completely different character, and I felt that she was made very bland in the movie. In the book she plays and insightful temptress, cruel, but openhearted, and has much more personality than what the movie depicted.
Second of all, this is not a Leonardo Dicaprio flick. It is an artistic representation. I don't think it's in good taste to say it was only worth it because of "Leo's" performance, or "Leo" was wonderful in it. He was wonderful in it, but he was not the center, he was not the main character, it was not a hunky dreamboat character, and I know I suffered immense shock seeing him as a normal person in later movies. I would more readily say it was a Johnny Depp movie or a Lasse Hallstrom movie. I have nothing personal against Leonardo Dicaprio, I think he is very talented.
Overall, I think the movie is worth watching but the book is worth BUYING. It's really the story that made the movie.
I cannot understand how someone who sees this film cannot be taken by how wonderful it is. True, it is not deep, it is not groundbreaking, and the plot is not the strongest asset. But the acting is wonderful, the characters are believable, and there are subtleties that cannot be noticed watching it the first time. I have seen this movie maybe twenty times, and every time, I see something new, something funny.
Guy Pearce of L.A. Confidential makes an astounding change of pace as a very effeminate drag queen, and So does Hugo Weaving from his straight role in Proof. I cannot even look at Terence Stamp anymore without admiring how he could morph so gracefully into a "woman."
Overall, I sing praises for this movie. It truly deserves the full 10 out of 10.
Jean de Florette (1986)
excellent beyond measure
All I have to say is that this is the most wonderful movie I have ever seen. It is the first movie that ever made me cry, and I don't often cry in movies. First of all, the acting is superb. When you see the movie, you can almost feel what the characters are feeling and you can see why they do what they do. Second of all, the story is enchanting, and third of all, the music is beautiful and haunting. I have never seen a movie that was as perfect as this.