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Now I walk, read, travel, watch movies, enjoy dinners with friends.
Mrs. Soffel (1984)
A big disapointment
I'm not a big fan of Mel Gibson (his politics, especially), but I thought that his performance was the only thing that made this film bearable. It ran for just over an hour an a half, but it seemed like more than a week to me. I did not believe the love affair, even thought it is based on a true story; the wife must have had some other issues with her husband besides her illness (which was never defined in the movie.
Get a pizza and watch a wrestling match!
Y tu mamá también (2001)
Dissenting opinion here I guess.
I finally rented `Y tu mamá también'. Having noticed that it received several groups' award for best foreign film, I thought it might be worth a watch. I'm ashamed to admit that I sat through the entire thing, but I kept thinking it would develop into something other than less-interesting-than-out-and-out-pornography. Whoever decided it deserved best `anything' must have been reliving their pre-pubescent days. Two thumbs down, decidedly.
Pay It Forward (2000)
Random Acts Of Kindness
I've seen the bumper-stickers, and I think they are the best summary of this movie. It is not great, it is not formidable. It is, however, memorable, and perhaps that is what is most important in a film. See it, but not without Kleenex: you could spend your time in a way that is much less moving.
Best in Show (2000)
I don't find comedies funny - with a few exceptions.
I avoid comedies because I usually don't find them funny; I expect to laugh when watching one. I DID laugh during "Best In Show", and I laughed many times, out loud. One of the funniest I've seen in years! (Of course, I laughed at "Guffman", too.)
The Little Prince (1974)
Flawed, but extremely nice
Le Petit Prince has been, and may still be, required reading for French students. It is difficult to make a satisfactory film of such a literary icon; it is dangerous to try to make it a musical, as well. I think this film is highly under-rated, and perhaps mostly by people who are not very familiar with its original source. While much of the film could be considered "hokey", I believe that the "dance" sequence of the pilot and the Prince in the spring is sheer delight (as their finding the source of water must have been). Fosse's Snake and Wilder's Fox are phenomenal: it doesn't take long for one to actually believe that they are animals rather than people portraying animals. This is a must-see for all, especially for those with children (they seem to "get it" faster than many adults.
Wo hu cang long (2000)
Too much brouhaha
I found all the martial arts scenes exactly as had been described to me by friends....more like ballet than fighting. Especially fine was the scene on top of the bamboo. The visual effects were really quite interestingly done. The main characters were believable; I especially liked the contrast of the understated love affair between the older couple with the lust-driven affair of the younger couple. I did not find the music "too Eastern" for my ears - at least not for the 2 hours I was exposed to it. The cinematography was superb, especially in the panoramic views of landscape and the various scenes involving caves and retreats.
However, I cannot understand the extreme ecstasy that this film has obviously brought to so many viewers. I'm glad that I saw it in the theater rather than wait for it to come out on video for two reasons: 1) the total effect of the visual would have been lost; 2) I probably would have turned it off after 10 or 12 minutes at home and picked up the nearest book.
Manon des sources (1986)
French films in the classroom
I always felt that the week I needed to show the two films was worth the time for the students: they heard other-than-Parisian accents and they saw truly fine films! I enjoyed watching them as well, but I always went to the front of the room toward the end of Manon so I could watch the reaction of the students at the "revealing" scene near the end. One year, a young lady whom I did not particularly like was glued to the TV closest to her: her eyes widened, her mouth gaped, and perfectly silent tears started to flow down her cheeks. Not a motion, not a sound...just tears. I decided I liked her quite a bit more than I previously had!
For use in high school classes
My 3rd-year French classes always enjoyed this film very much. In a multi-cultural, inner-city high school, the film provided many subjects for discussion (in French in class, but I know a lot of discussion went on in English after class). The most obvious is the relationship between Protée and Aimée compared to the one between Protée and France.
I always mentioned that I felt this film had one of the "sexiest" scenes I had ever seen in a movie. One year, a 17-year-old African-American shouted, "Yes!" when he figured out the scene: the one where Protée is helping Aimée lace up her evening dress, all the while both are examining the reflection of the other in the mirror. Directors use the "mirror technique" when then want to focus on the inner conflict on the part of one or more character in a scene: this is a perfect example of the technique, and it is "sexy".
Most students had trouble understanding the end of the film. One suggested that one theme of the movie was "Africanism", and that no matter how much one loved Africa or Africans, one cannot "become" African (like the driver tried to do): one must BE African.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
This is the exception!
Most American remakes of French films fall far short of the original. Include in this list: Diabolique, La Femme Nikita, La Cage aux folles. This film, a remake of the French was far superior to the original, which was as dull and lifeless as the above-mentioned American remakes.
Stand by Me (1986)
This film is true-to-life!
I cannot believe this film doesn't have a higher rating with IMDb reviewers! My older brother had a '47 Studebaker while he was in high school (he graduated in 1958). He was not a "bad" kid, though he did have some behavioral problems as an adolescent (and as an adult, but he is someone to be proud of today). I don't know if he ever played "mail-box baseball or not: but if he and his friends didn't, it's only because they just didn't think of it!
Tea with Mussolini (1999)
The more often I see this film, the more I like it!
Cher, of course, is phenomenal. I am not a fan of Lily Tomlin, but she outdoes herself in this film. Ms. Dench deserved the Oscar for this film rather than for the one in which she appeared less than a minute! Ms. Plowright and Ms. Smith were perfectly cast.