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The Tudors (2007)
Sexy and Depressing
The Tudors is full of sex, nudity, decapitations, torture, betrayal, malice, murder, rape,festering wounds, gossip, adultery, a Royal Court soap opera ...and all being performed by mostly in shaped attractive actors who are lead by Jonathan Rhyes Myers as Henry VIII. The real life lunatic king would most likely be delighted to be portrayed so handsomely. Imagine how The Tudors would have done in the ratings if the characters were portrayed more accurately in appearance. Henry VIII was a plump pig of a man along with most of the court hogs. Psychopathy and Narcissism run amok as Henry VIII grows more paranoid and delusional in his power to Control England, Ireland, and France. A depressing feeling engulfs the mind from start to finish. The characters appear apathetic to any emotion especially the loss of family, loved ones, or friends. The costumes and set designs are lovely. Myers captures the King in a perverse madness and we hate him for it wanting that festering wound to devour his evil and twisted mind. Yet, for some reason, among all the madness there is a spell cast. You might have the whips and chains ready for a late night romp with a desirable one.
A dreamily opening to a captivating and somewhat confusing look into depression and isolation. The undertone of this film lies in the fact that feeling depressed is based on the fact that something does not seem right. There is no Prozac or Lexapro to alter your brain. Melancholia seems to symbolize our current state of viral cyber news of comets, runaway planets, fallen birds, plaques of locust, Brown Dwarfs...strange sounds. Something does not seem right. Kirsten Dunst carried much of the film and Charlotte Gainsbourg was a fine balance of melancholy. Director Lars Von Trier uses his bouncy camera shoots that may cause irritation with some of the confusing moments such as a night out on a Golf Course but then slows down to moments of transcendence like the nude scene under the light of Melancholia, a runaway planet that is more of a parable to all our endings. Isolation on an English Estate. Beautiful and haunting.
The Help (2011)
Far From The Truth
The Help comes nowhere near the horror that infected Mississippi and the Southeast during the Civil Rights movement in 1960's America. This silly portrayal is filled with cinematic clichés. The film bounces between fluff and nutter with Actors placed in nice lighting. Give me a break. The Help has a cast that is able to carry the story with moments of humor balancing the hardships of being victims of racism. The Evangelical Baptists and Congregations were filled with much oppression and ignorance during this time. Why is this not touched upon with a more accurate eye. 50 years later, Mississippi is ranked the most miserable state. Perhaps, in the sequel, "More Help" we may see such realism. It will scare the hell out of ya. No pun intended.
One of the most frightening films of all time
W., an outlined bio pic of former President George W. Bush and directed by Oliver Stone should be on every critics top ten horror film lists. Stone directs the film with a flat and unattached manner as if simulating the title characters own persona. There is nothing learned or gained by watching this film with the exception of knowing that there is definitely a major problem in our country right now when an individual of this nature is able to win Presidency. The horror of this film is that George W. Bush is portrayed as a drunk, set out to prove something to his ego. There is not one profound statement made from a leader detached from vanity or power. There is no philosophy or attribute toward a better world. There is only pettiness and spite. The film is sad and it leaves a note of a troubled America. The cast does a great job of creating a selfish interest group bent out of shape in the pasture land of Bush's Homestead. George W. Bush is portrayed as a brat, a trait that never seemed to go away. Where is the heart and mind of a leader? Surely, at some point, George W. had to have an epiphany...something!...anything! that justifies eight years of being President.
A Philosophical and Thought Provoking Omen
Is the Earth entering the age of Aquarius? Is it time for a new paradigm of existence without the aid of made up cults known as religion? Is it the end of usury? It is a great time for life to shift to a new way of thinking and be what we could have been without the antagonism of religion. The Mayan Calender ends on December 21st, 2012 at 11:11-The Winter Solstice. Its translation into our time equals 22.214.171.124.0. Something has got to change. Have we all forgotten those jets flying into the World Trade Center and how nothing has really been told or truly explained? Does paying our debt truly distract us from what is going on?
Zeitgeist is a philosophical narrative on the state of who are we are and where we came from and where we are going in the age of Pisces. It shows us how we are easily deceived and can be made to believe in anything. Remember we are just mature monkeys and Human beings can be made to believe in anything if we're affected as children. Imagine being raised in a KKK family or a Catholic Family, Islam, or worse, a Baptist family like this critic...oh the suffering...Imagine what you could have been without those inventions of hate and deceit? Zeitgeist is suggesting to those who are aware of this illusion of existence that the times are about to change. Who wants the world to continue that forces pills, usury, plastic surgery, vanity, greed, drugs, commercialism, materialism...down our throats as if this is what our intention was when the Human spirit has so much more to offer the individual as we begin to realize that we do exist in heaven.
Watch this movie and think about it. Who will be the one to stop this madness we all let continue? Where is the David to throw the Stone into Goliath? As a democracy we have the right to fire our government. Remember a Democracy is Mob Rule...
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Beware the Sirens
Elia Kazan's black and white film adaptation to Tennesee William's 1947 play A Streetcar Named Desire. A superb effort by Kazan sharing it's place amongst his other films such as East Of Eden, On The Waterfront, and Gentlemen's Agreement. Cinematographer Harry Stradling who would be the future DP for My Fair Lady and Funny Girl, places the characters in light and shadows capturing the growing tension on a New Orleans set.
Blanche Dubois (Vivian Leigh) is seeking a streetcar named desire in the opening of the film. A young sailor points her the way. It is here where Blanche Dubois displays a subtle glimpse into her true nature however, she has a streetcar to catch and a close sister, Stella Kowalksi (Kim Hunter) to lean on. Desire and the past pursue Blanches journey.
If anything A Streetcar Named Desire is Sexy and it's desire pours off the screen with the entrance of Stanley Kowalski's (Marlon Brando) sweaty t-shirt allure in the 1940's steamy and wild city of New Orleans. The moment Blanche lays eyes on her sisters husband the heat immerses off the screen. Marlon Brando is a screen presence with his sex appeal and brooding puppy eyes. Director Kazan captures the actor in his primal sexuality like a God of Desire. Stanley will be Blanche's antagonist and the scenes between the two actors are gripping and powerful.
The Film is a parable to the journey of life. Great Ullysses tried to show us in The Odyssey as he tied himself to a pole and plugged his ears with wax to the songs of desire as the Sirens sung that forces beyond our imagination and control can lead us to decay as it does Blanche Dubois whose past wanderings and addictions destroy her world.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight and a Marketing Quest.
The Dark Knight's marketing campaign was very luring and the super charged trailers for this multi produced dark and monotone film were done very well, tempting the moviegoer's curiosity. The film starts off on a somewhat implausible crime and an introduction to the evil that Batman will have to face. Gotham is in trouble. It seems that since the 911 attacks several films have been portraying destruction and violence in a form of terrorism. The Dark Knight has a parable to the current terror that the Western World is facing and fighting against. The Joker, Batman's antagonist in the film is the symbol for this new terrorism...he is a disturbing character that is faced with impossible feats of terror. The film jolts the senses and keeps the consciousness focused on defeating this terror and how but, the impossible meets the impossible and a reminder that this all comic book fun with a little propaganda involved. It's the hero's journey done all over again. Cinematographer Wally Pfister's lighting is the best part of this hyped film. Heath Ledger played a great Character Role that has been played well in the past. Chistian Bale seemed bored and tired or perhaps that was his Character as batman would be tired and bored with existence and wondering why he is bothering when the cops in the film are portrayed as mediocre, corrupt, stupid...why would Batman continue...Rich, successful, powerful, superhero, attractive...The Dark Knight is full of questionable feats and watching the editing in places did not convince that what just occurred on film is too hard to accept even on comic book level. This empty and sad film leaves the senses the moment the car door shuts. Like a rickety roller-coaster...glad to see the credits role.
An Early 21st Century Animated Feature
WALL-E captivates the senses during the first 20 minutes as computer generated images of our future look and feel life like. A loneliness creeps in and engulfs the mind as WALL-E wheels his way around a decaying metropolis, in silence doing his job as a scrap recycler constructor. Many films in recent times have applied the spirit and machine together such as A.I., I Robot, 2001, and Aaron Lipstadt's obscure 1982 film Android. There may be a future in robotics as the Human population rises and our needs change. Investors look out.
This Pixar/ Disney production is a wonder to view as we watch WALL-E pursue companionship in a space visitor, a Droid Robot named EVA sent to the barren earth to find plant life. The arrival of the spaceship as it descends upon the desolate city is beautiful and enjoyably felt. There is a Genesis feel to EVA's arrival as she represents Eve in the Garden and WALL-E is Adam. God even saw in a robot, loneliness. The discovered plant represents the fig leaf and the space ship is the Ark. Disney and Christianity have always been hand in hand.
The second half of the film becomes more Disney as we meet the Inhabitants on the Spaceship. A sadness may come upon the mind as the inhabitants are a future generation of WALL-Mart consumers continuing the game deep in Space. The Earth was gobbled up and left a wasteland by corporate consumers apathetic to the world around them. Who will lead them without ego back to earth. WALL-E? No. Love. Just as Christ represents love. Disney takes the same old story and paints another unique and original piece of art.
WALL-E seems to be telling us that the human race needs to come together and hold hands and save this planet. It aims at the next generation, today's 5 to 10 year olds who will always have the future of our planet on their minds.
WALL-E is fun, entertaining, unusual, alarming and contains some amazing images of a computer generated reality. That right there is frightening as the same generation may be deceived in the future when they think they are looking at something real when its just Pixar tricking the consumer into consumption.
The Trip to Bountiful (1985)
A Tale of longing and aching for the past.
The Trip To Bountiful is a touching and thought provoking film on the human condition as we grow older and the generations of our existence begin to fade into others leaving some of us behind to dwell in how beautiful life was. The film opens on a hymn "Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling..." and there is a young mother chasing her son, a boy through a golden field touched by lilac. The mother catches her son and lifts him to her chest and hugs him deeply and there is a warm start to what will be a great story on the human condition through the aging of time.
From the Golden Field serenaded by a hymn the future is laid upon us and we see the Mother, 40 years later rocking in a chair staring out a window in a city apartment humming a hymn. Meet Geraldine Page the Oscar winner who portrays Carrie Watts, A Woman determined to go back to her rural country hometown Bountiful and relive the moment. Carrie lives with her son Ludie portrayed by John Heard in his city apartment along with his wife Fannie Mae who dislikes the humming of hymns. Fannie Mae is a pain in the ass caught up in new post war II bourgeois Caucasian existence.
The film follows Carrie on her adventure to get to Bountiful and the petty events that try to stop her. Rebecca Demorney fills the screen for a brief moment and reminds us how beautiful youth and innocence is and how kind we all can be as strangers.
A lyrical and teary eyed experience. Gets you in the heart and reminds us to embrace the presence and prepare for a future.
Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991)
A Portrait of an Artist as a young woman.
Madonna is captivating in Truth or Dare, a self produced documentary showcasing the Blond Pop Star on stage and back stage. There are no cigarettes and their is little drinking, if any going on in the film. Truth or Dare is more about a formed family that produces one hell of a spectacle and at the center is Madonna who holds everyone together using a soft tongue, humor, vulgarity, sex and prayer. Madonna is a phenomenon who soaks up the paparazzi like a magnet; she loves the camera and attention. It is fun to watch Madonna shrewdly humiliate famous men like Kevin Costner and Warren Beatty. It's fun to see her get playful with her dancers and show her breasts off to her friends not letting them get too close. Madonna holds prayer meetings before her concerts with her dancers and back up singers as she chomps gum. It is more like a pep prayer getting everyone into a strong light of commitment and perseverance. The film cuts between stage acts with some of Madonna's top songs then to back stage of other avenues of Madonna's life like visiting the grave of her Mother. Madonna has a helpful brother who shows up in many scenes and his presence is laid back and intelligent. Madonna works hard and achieves much in return for her abilities. She is a living legend who speaks about our rights of artistic expression. We see a kind Madonna who mothers her extended family of dancers and friends and we see a strong Madonna who laughs in the face of humility and gets away with it. Truth or Dare is more rewarding now because we have seen the direction this woman has taken. She has set the example on how to succeed in the Music World and have a good time.