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Finding Neverland (2004)
Finally, finally, I saw this movie. I had taped it on my VCR a few months ago but was hesitant to watch what I call a "period picture". You know stories about the wealthy, spoiled class of folks in England during the last century. Yes, it was briefly about this class of people but only because they were in the audience of Barrie's wonderful plays. His relationship with the children made me jealous; I wish I could have been one of them. Johnny Depp (who I think is a fantastic actor)brought the character to life in a quiet, subtle manner which added to the charm of the movie. I'm usually a fan of movies that make me think and become angry at man's disregard for his fellow man at which time I want to rise up and say "Right on". However, this movie "charmed the angry beast" in me and gave me the feeling that "all's right with the world". At least, at that time and that place. Today, I still feel the warmth that emanated from the play "Peter Pan". If only we could enter that world more often and forget all the ills of the world.
From sea to shining sea
I went to see this movie with high hopes of finding empathy and compassion for one of life's mistakes or maybe mistake isn't the right word. We are all born with mistakes built in but trying to live in another gender's body and rejecting one's self must be extremely traumatic. So I went to the movie and saw a distraught person about to undergo a sex change, whose son (that he/she didn't know about) on the other side of the country who is in jail for a minor drug charge and being a young male prostitute. So what happens, under entirely unbelievable circumstances he/she goes to New York, rescues said "son", takes him across country - back to his origins in Arkansas where he obviously was the product of a loving black woman (since his birth mother committed suicide); his stepfather obviously delighted in beating him up. And he/she takes him along and picks up a delinquent hippie who steals the car then on to Texas and visits a transsexual party who talk about their sex change operations and sing "Home on the Range". Continue to get a ride with a friendly Indian who drives them to somewhere obviously in Southern California where he/she's parents live with a recovering druggie of a daughter. Oh I forget to mention the small dog, who is really cute. And the parents, especially the mother reject him/her but when they find out the teenager is their grandson, all bets are off - but no it doesn't end there. Teenager runs away and becomes a porn actor who has to rely on Viagra. O.K. Back to L.A. for sex change operation. All goes well enough but wait for the good news. The son with beautifully coiffed blond hair returns to visit mom/dad and life seems to be good or good enough. Give me a break. I'm exhausted from writing this. review.
The Dream of Jerusalem
I have just finished one of the most delightful movies I've ever seen. A young Zulu who comes to Israel from his village to view the Jerusalem he's read about in the Bible all his life, the culmination of a man's vision and belief which becomes complicated as he gets caught up in the harsh realities of life. Yet he remains true to his goal and eventually sees Jerusalem and uses the modern equipment he has acquired in this case a camera to record the city, the city on film to return to Africa with his new knowledge of the world. He is exhilarated by having having finally seen the Jerusalem of his dreams. This picture has to be seen and felt as no words are eloquent enough to capture the essence of this truly remarkable film.
Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)
I was truly looking forward to this movie. I admired Edward Murrow and his succinct, prescient remarks re the news of the day. Of course, the main objective was his comments about Senator Joe McCarthy, who was the man responsible for ruining many lives after tainting them as a Communist. During the '50's I was literally glued to the television set and spent that time in despair at McCarthy's innuendos, distortions surrounded by his lackeys. I think some of the more prominent names who were attacked should be mentioned even if the characters weren't shown. Very prestigious people; including George Marshall and Adlai Stevenson. The only one shown was General Eisenhower briefly. The movie lacks the anger I felt at the underhanded tactics used by the Senator and though it does not whitewash him, it leaves us wanting to know what happened. I know what happened but the movie doesn't show the finality of McCarthy's viciousness and his subsequent censure by the Senate.
Going, Going - Gone
After seeing the movie "Going up River, the Long War Of John Kerry", I realize how little I knew about the Vietnam War. My husband and I were avid anti-war folks but what did we know what we read in the paper, magazines, heard on the radio, saw on television. What did we know? Very little. After watching this movie a real life documentary, I become conscious of how little we really knew.
I sat in the theater breathless, my heart pounding watching the Swift Boats patrolling the Mekong river up thousands of miles of a narrow waterway surrounded by small villages and forests; a boat with engines loud enough to alert the people in Hanoi. I had never heard the term Swift Boats during those many years of the war. Young servicemen were ordered to shoot to kill anything that moved anything and everything was the enemy.
And then, and then, those that survived the horror of the war came home to be ignored, dismissed as less than human, men who had earned their Silver Stars, Purple Hearts and ribbons after being schooled as predators.
John Kerry went to Washing to present their views to Washington, D.C. and became involved in an anti-war demonstration in our nation's capitol. He spoke eloquently before the Congress, truly an outstanding human being.
I am still overcome by the scenes of the "Swift Boats" moving gracefully one after another on the river of blood. I am left speechless that my country, the country I love has again embarked on another unjust war.
25th Hour (2002)
Flawless movie - Should have won an Academy Award
I have watched this movie twice and was completely engrossed in its seamless scenes that movie quietly, smoothly, quietly from one character's dilemma into another. A story of three childhood friends who over the years have moved in completely different directions but with a crisis facing one of them, they come together as supportive companions. The movie shows New York through the ideas of the condemned man as he scans an exhibition of fellow New Yorkers through his vivid imagaination and frustration with himself. This is truly an original and surreal view of the world around him which includes his view of his own failings. The language is raw and angry but it actually enhances the story which is filled with frustration and despair. The cinematography and the music never intrude yet they too heighten the movie to its climatic ending.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Down for the Count
O.K. Boxing leaves me cold or maybe I should say - usually boxing leaves one of the boxer's cold. I'm not trying to be facetious but Clint Eastwood took a theme which is totally improbable yet I found it interesting and moving. For most of the movie, I found the plot well developed, the characters interesting and the grimy background believable. And what do you know, that girl can punch - one wallop and down they go until one day, down she went. And so did the movie. If the movie would have ended before the lengthy hospital scenes, I would have walked out and thought, well she did what she wanted to with the help of a moody, guilt ridden manager. He really overdid "moody" but hey, this is a movie. Now to get to the sad part and it was sad, sad. He was sad, she was sick and sad. Her folks were especially sad since no more money was forthcoming. Anyway, as the sun sets in the west, the movie sank lower and lower into despair until the end. And so the moody manager vanished into the night, or did he?
Spots before My Eyes
I've just finished watching this movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and I have spots before my eyes. I'm not sure how much I would love eternal sunshine but the spotless mind leave much to be desired. I know we are not to take this movie literally but figuratively it leave much to be desired. I do have imagination; I do have a tendency to think beyond the obvious but, but this movie really worked at being so - so, I can't really find the words. We are all struggling to find our identity. Give me a break. That's not a new theme but with a movie as convoluted as this, some poor souls will truly believe that this choppy, pretentious,artsy-craftsy movie is a work of art. Believe me there are great movies out there and this ain't one of them.
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
Best Movie of the Year
This movie is undoubtedly the best of many good ones in the past years. After watching it last night, it is still with me - the glorious scenery, the entire cast and of course, most of all Ben Kingsley. Ben Kingsley should have gotten the Academy Award for his performance. Not once did I find the actor behind the character he was playing. I have seen him in many movies, each of which he epitomizes and becomes a chameleon changing colors becoming whatever his roll calls for. The cinematography was beyond beautiful; indescribably glorious, breathtakingly exquisite in both the colors and movement. The story was believable, tragic yet it hit the right notes of a man who is determined to regain at least some of the stature he had left behind. I truly loved the line which was spoken in the Iranian tongue and then translated "If a wounded bird flies into your house, you must take in in and heal it." The words might not be exactly correct but the meaning is obvious and quite eloquent.
Mystic River (2003)
This movie left me breathless and as I succumbed to the story and the characters, I noticed an eerie silence throughout the audience. We were all spellbound and it felt as if we made the smallest sound the screen would disappear or perhaps we would.
The film depicted a horrendous tragedy which escalated, changed shape and lives like a chameleon changes color. You stayed in a state of suspense, uneasiness and curiosity waiting for the "other shoe to fall" and it did but not "one shoe" many shoes.
Every actor was superb; they become the characters more vividly than any movie I've seen or can remember. As you follow the story the suspense builds and at the end, you realize there is no conclusion only tragedy, confusion and it seems the movie is about to start again.