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Santa santita (2004)
A touching slice of life about alleged sinners and alleged sainthood.
Malen is a wayward daughter living in poverty who wants excitement or luxury not found in her home, with a mother who prays for others for subsistence donations. The producers have chosen a stunningly beautiful young woman to play the role. The viewers are forced to ache for the mother who cannot control the temptations that Malen sees every day and yearns to enjoy. It is obvious to the viewers that she wants to lose her innocence and have adult experiences. It is obvious that the young man she chooses can only hurt her, but that is the essence of a certain type of film story. Empathy, dread, and fear of tragedy for the main character. Even for non-Catholics or non-Filipino audiences this is a universal story.
My Wife's Best Friend (1952)
Wife's daydream of grandeur
My sister and I saw this in 1952 and were impressed enough to remember some of the lines until this day. Ann Baxter "Oh, I'd just go mad if I didn't have my little escape hatches!" We put it into some of our little family entertainment dramas. I was 16 and she was 13 when we saw it.
It was fun -- and I thought I recognized Wild Red Barry as one of the toughs at the Men Only health retreat. According to the cast list it was Henry Kulky as the 'pug'. Mike Mazursky, also a pro rassler, is not credited at all, although he has a line about not fearing to push a ladies face in.
I agree -- why isn't it shown more often? While the Empress walks the naked backs of male slaves she digs her high heel around a bit on MacDoanld Carey, and he looks up at the camera in dismay or something.
The Boss' Wife (1986)
The 1980s Comedy
I don't think the published reviewer watched any of it after the opening titles -- because Daniel Stern is resisting, running away, and trying to avoid the attentions of the Boss' Wife.
Perhaps I was just in a good mood for a farce with mistaken identities and quick exits and entrances. Plummer was just sooooo excellent as a slimy investment top gun. Martin Mull was soooooo creepy as the rival to Daniel stern -- both candidates for promotion. And Fisher Stevens as the photographer-masseur is terrific as Carlos Delgado, the source of irritation and distraction and deception. Maybe his best role ever for this fine character actor. Both ladies were easy on the eyes and seductive.
The writer and director used fine material to make an entertaining 83 minutes from start to finish IMVHO.
Fox Legacy with Tom Rothman (2007)
Commentary on Gentlemen's Agreement
I watched Gentlemen's Agreement on cable tonight after viewing it half a dozen times over the years -- it's such a great film.
Then Tom Rothman came in after the credits and offered some commentary on this 1947 movie. I was astounded. It wasn't embraced by the masses back then, and in fact, it brought the wrath of the know-nothings down on Hollywood, leading to the Blacklist period.
As a Midwestern-wasp who first saw it in the 40s, I thought it was elegant but overblown. Who could deny Gregory Peck a hotel room because he MIGHT be Jewish? That's a silly premise. I thought. John Garfield can't find a house in a decent neighborhood after mustering out of the Army? Give me a break. I've lived since 1936 and discovered over the years this country was not as envisioned by the settlers, at least the decent settlers. Since the 40s I've learned about the Japanese-American internments, the brutality of 'segregation'in the South, the anti-miscegenation laws where Korean wives were denied to Caucasian soldiers in Virginia, and the enforced subservience or prohibition of women in professions. Well the list is long. I'm glad Mr. Rothman pointed out recent films that raised public consciousness.
Se, jie (2007)
Lust suppressed and simmered. Caution in abundance.
The story begins in Shanghai as it is being seized and occupied by Japan in 1940. The male lead is a collaborator with the Japanese, and the female lead is a patriotic drama student who is a friend of his wife. The students decide to use her access to the hated traitor, to assassinate him and it takes three years of caution and planning to fulfill. The production values were extravagant with beautiful cinematography, 1940s sets, music and costumes for that period, and well cast actors.
As an old timer I enjoyed seeing the 1940s atmosphere and the political intrigue. I thought of Hitchock's Notorious during a couple of the scenes. I believe the script could have been nicely topped off if the final line was: C'est la guerre!
Ang Lee's films are diverse and well executed. I've seen The Ice Storm, Hulk, Tiger/Dragon, Brokeback Mountain,and now Lust/Caution.
A plus was seeing Joan Chen in a small role as Mrs. Yee.
Man About Town (2006)
Mike Binder does corporate backstabbing perfectly
After commenting last week on Man About Town I looked up Mike Binder on his blog. I ended up buying a DVD from his Freebird connection for $17 for a non-theatrical-release film called The Search for John Gissing. How could I not acquire it after watching the trailer for it on the blog showing Alan Rickman and Janeen Garafalo in a London based comedy about international business. If I had seen it when it was made, back in the year 2000 or so, I would have thought the film was the freshest comedy ever. But since 2000 I've seen Extras on cable with Bob Gervais and John Gissing uses similar devices to entertain us. Close, oh what the heck, still give it a cigar.
American Dreamz (2006)
I laughed a lot but........
This is well written and well cast show, but it is too soon -- too soon. In a few years,hopefully I can watch this on Oldies Television and not get a creepy feeling on my hackles.
I've never watched even one episode of American Idol and feel it is fair game for satire. This film will be funny - it is all there and well presented. But today it is too soon.
Dennis Quaid is perfect in his role, Willem Dafoe is always interesting - is he really bald? Hugh Grant is a charismatic opportunist who now has a tiger by the tail. The other roles were plucked from stereotypes and then given a spin - the girl with the dream, her mother, her boyfriend, her N.Y. agent; stereotypes who then break out of their mold. Excellent casting and coaching.