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In the Bedroom (2001)
Three Films in One is Too Much for Any Movie to Carry
I saw the movie "In the Bedroom." I thought it was disappointing. There are some movies that try to cover too much territory, and this was one of them. It was three movies in one: (1) boy comes of age with divorcing woman with kids; (2) an "Ordinary People"-type movie about the strains in a marriage caused by the death of a child; and (3) a tale of the inadequacies of the criminal justice system with the attendant question of whether vigilante justice is proper. Each component could have been its own movie. Lumping them together for the sake of creating a hodgepodge diminishes each. The result was a movie that was 2 hours long, but seemed like 4.5 hours long.
The acting was generally good, although some of the accents were all over the place. At one point Sissy Spacek (who aged beyond belief since I last saw her) yells something out in anger in a Southern accent. Marisa Tomei did a fine job, as did the father.
The editing was innovative at times. At others, it drew too much attention to itself. It had 2 too many fade-outs.
L'histoire d'Adèle H. (1975)
It Makes You Wonder
This is a period movie that takes place in the 1860s in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It concerns an unrequited love between Adele H., the daughter of Victor Hugo, and a member of the English military stationed there. It is directed by Francois Truffaut. At the film's beginning, there is some narration about the involvement of the French and British in the American Civil War, but the Civil War plays no part in the movie.
I enjoyed the feel of this film. French actress Isabelle Adjani superbly plays a woman whose love is rejected and who inches down a slippery slope to madness. The costumes and scenery ring true, and the movie conveys the feel of the Canadian Atlantic province. It was also interesting to learn this sidelight about Victor Hugo.
Most of all, I enjoyed this film because it raises the question of whether its main character is crazy to begin with or whether, being possessed of such a strong love, it was a natural progression to madness when it was rejected. It raises, but of course does not answer, what causes such a potent love to arise and what is the consequence of its extinguishment.
A Million Questions
This travelogue-qua-movie leaves one with a number of unanswered questions. Here are a few: (1) Why in the world does Brazzi chase cold fish Hepburn around Venice? I cannot for the life of me understand what he sees in her, and I found myself rooting for him to tell her to take a hike. (2) What is the means of support of the the Hepburn character? How does she get the time, and where does she get the money, for an open-ended stay in Venice? (3) How did the non-plot make it as a stage play before being filmed by David Lean without the sumptuous Venetian scenery? (4) How is it that this movie could have evoked the praises that it has evoked by other IMDB viewers?
Du rififi chez les hommes (1955)
Tension-packed caper film
This black-and-white film presents an interesting story of how an aging hood returns from prison and becomes involved in an intricate jewelry store heist. It was directed by Jules Dassin, and it is noteworthy for its on location shots in the always-overcast streets of the Montmartre section of Paris in the 1950s and its constantly rising tension. (Dassin used the same on location philosophy in "Naked City," where the New York Streets became a supporting character.) The movie falls into three sections: (1) the lead-up to the burglary; (2) the burglary; and (3) the aftermath. In the way that the movie shows how different personalities and temperaments respond to the tension following a crime, it reminded me of "Reservoir Dogs." While this is a very good movie, it is not a great movie. It should be seen, however.
Tsubaki Sanjûrô (1962)
Too confusing for me
I did not enjoy this movie. I know that it is by Kurasawa, a master. I know that it stars Mifume. It seemed like ninety-minutes of running back and forth without much of a point. There is a certain tongue-in-cheek element to it, but other than spawning an occasional grin, the movie did not reach out and grab me. It is no Kagemusha, Ran, or Ikiru.
Poignant examination of down-and-out genius
This is a very moving and poignant portrayal of the seedy existence of an alcoholic derelict with a surprising, poetic joie-de-vive. Played convincingly by Mickey Rourke, he is matched by Faye Dunaway, who plays a female alcoholic with whom he moves in. Because the camera here never blinks, it is hard to watch in sections. I highly recommend this movie.
Schizophrenic composite of "Close Encounters" and "Song of Bernadette"
The film is a schizophrenic composite of a science-fiction "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"-type film and a crisis of faith-type film. As always, Jodi Foster is a delight. This 150 minute film, in the end, left me scratching my head--and not in the way that it wanted to.