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It worked for me.
Reading the box at the video store, I went back and forth in my mind trying to decide whether this might be a good rental or not. I knew nothing about the film beforehand. I have always enjoyed David Strathairn, so that was a plus. However, reading the summary it sounded boring. Finally, since there was nothing else in the store more appealing, I picked it up. I was pleasantly surprised to see that John Sayles had written and directed it as I had just seen MATEWAN, and loved it. As the story unfolded, I found that I liked getting to know the people. This is an art that is often never attempted and even less often achieved. It is a fine line between interest and boredom, if the storyteller is having the patience to develop his charactors. I kept getting more and more curious as the movie went on as to what was going to happen next. Then the big plot twist occured with Strathairn's brother and the story shifted into another gear. Now you get to see the world more completely through each of the 3 main charactors eyes. It was great...each charactor was equally complex and rivoting to me. The ending was a total shock. I was iniatially disappointed, but in retrospect.... I love it. I have always advocated unpredicatability as a key element of a good film and there is no way to see that ending coming. I could say more, but at the risk of giving the surprise away...suffice to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
Lulu on the Bridge (1998)
A nice little sleeper of a movie
I didn't know what to expect before viewing this film. Certainly the title gave no clues and was a bit of a turn-off. However, right from the start I found the story to be interesting. It had a lot of twists and turns that kept my interest throughout. It is one of those pictures that you are better not knowing anything, so I won't reveal any of the plot. Suffice to say this script made for enjoyable watching and I am surprised that other viewers did not rate it as highly as I did.
Madame Sousatzka (1988)
For lovers of classical piano
I can see how this movie would not be for everyone. However, it worked beautifully for me. It was a wonderful contrast of a renowned piano teacher who becomes too attached to her young prodigy. The story was a wonderful juxtaposition of classical performances, along with a study of the people involved. The story develops simultaneously with the evolution of the main charactors, and the acting was first rate. You don't have to love classical piano to enjoy this, but it probably helps. It is a fine story with many layers and I give it a thumbs up.
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
How Many Times Can Trained Gunman Miss Their Target?
I went into this film hoping for a suspenseful plot with a lot of action. I was not disappointed with the action. However, the plot was a tired James Bond type formula with a twist. The twist was there was a woman as the star who can always shoot or think her way out of any situation, no matter how preposterous. The problem for me was that the plot became so incredible that only the special effects were interesting. Yet, it was easy to watch from a "no-brainer" perspective. If you are looking for a movie to challenge your wits, forget this. But if you have home theatre, want to watch action and listen to explosions... pop some popcorn and rent this.
Effective as both a story and a commentary
I found this movie to be effective as both fiction and non-fiction. Debra Winger and Tom Berenger both give first rate performances. This movie reveals how racism is passed down from one generation to the next. The passage, "the sins of the father are visited on the son" seem particularly relevant. I was surprised that it did not receive a higher user rating. Eventhough I saw it years ago, it remains in my memory as a very powerful and important movie.