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Beginthebeguine

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68 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
To view or not to view...its too late for me., 23 September 2014

The movie has a beginning, a middle and an end...but not in that order. The filmmaker does not reveal much about the accident that starts the hero's journey until the end. It is necessary to make it through the whole picture to understand what he did that made him such a basket case, and, halfheartedly, looking to end his life. He tries to shoot himself in the bath tub and he tries to hang himself, but is interrupted by a taxi driver, who, for her own reasons, has taken an interest in him. Naturally, when she knocks, he answers with the noose still around his neck.

The story, of the last few years, is replayed in his head. From his failure in love to his failure in the accident he confronts the question of his own manhood and humanity. A minor subplot of sibling competition is explored and left unsatisfied, of parental differences also unsatisfied in a script by writer/director Emmanuel Shirinian in his first full-length film. I think he was not ready to take on this challenge...but in the future, who knows ?

That reads pretty good on paper and there is really no technical problems with the film or its cutting. It just did not do it for me. I liked the questions asked, but it did not sell me on the character of the hero/Abner (Michael D. Cohen). I found myself not caring about his story, in fact, he annoyed me. This is no reflection on Mr. Cohen as an actor. The character is just not likable. Outside of Mr. Cohen and a landlady/Ethel (Phyllis Ellis) who throws herself at Abner in a last ditch effort to get some comfort out of life that is not found at the bottom of a bottle, none of the other performances are note worthy.

It is advertised as a dark comedy, but although the subject matter is dark, the film is not dark and rarely funny.

I will give it four stars two for Michael D. Cohen, and two for Phyllis Ellis.

Argggggggg this movie killed my soul !, 16 September 2014

Evolution has always favored self-interest. Collectivism only works when the self-interest of the majority is satisfied. That is all you have to know to survive the end of times, I mean, if you even want to survive the end of times...because, let's face it, it is pointless... just like this movie.

As I watched the movie it came to me that the guys who wrote, directed and produced this film were in a bar one night when they decided that this was a worthwhile film. You would have to be fall- down drunk to think this film had any depth or even answered the most shallow philosophical questions of existence.

The acting was bland, the lead actress was a desert of emotions. The other actors just stood there without expression. I don't suppose that the director or the films cutter had sobered up from their night of drinking yet and I do believe that the music was written for some other movie...maybe a cartoon.

Please do not watch this film or you might hurt your artistic soul...there, I have warned you.

French director tries to make sense of American violence, 27 August 2014

The film begins where our two beltway killers meet and slowly become one in their hate and lust for murder. It is entirely speculative in its dialogue and development. The one thing I liked is that it was not acted like some Charlie Manson crazed mass killer. Nevertheless, the characters never really reach a believable characterization of the type of anti social personality disorder that makes it possible to behave in such a way. I would suppose that it would be hard for such a young writer to lose himself in such a mind as that.

The editing of this film is laughable and there really is no rhythm to the cutting, it jumps around which makes me think that the director was not experienced enough to get enough coverage. There is a lot of running through the forests, proclamations about why people are no good, but none of which have any impact or gives the feeling of menace. In fact, menace is lacking in every part of this film.

Any thought that there would be a payoff for the time spent watching this movie is lost with a uninteresting and boring final scene that could have been cut from the film without any consequence. I say skip this one...

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Remake of Polanski thriller turned to horror TV show, 24 August 2014

I think Agnieszka Holland did an interesting job on directing a film with unavoidable comparison to the Polanski film of the same name. Cinematography by Michel Amathieu is well lit and looks professional. The problem that I have is that such horror film, thriller, and such look like cheap CW television shows when not filmed on film stock. That is my problem, but I just cannot adjust to the look of Gothic story painted on such a canvas.

Otherwise, Zoe Saldana (Rosemary) hands in her usual above board acting job, but I must admit that I never liked Mia Farrows work, I found her to be without depth. So Ms. Saldana did not have to reach far, into her vast acting repertoire, to out act shallow Farrow, nevertheless she gave the part a good shove in the right direction. Patrick J. Adams (Guy), on the other hand, had to compete with John Cassavetes who was amazing in the role. He did not really rise to it, but his part was limited to very few emotions...which I did not feel he really reached, but it did not really distract from the film's plot.

That's it for comparisons to the Polanski flick, other than I live across the street from the Dakota and it will always be the Rosemary's Baby building to me. The building in the film has an equally eerie facade and the inside with its maze of connecting rooms create a sinister set from Ms. Saldana to explore. OK that is enough comparisons!!! It is hard, is it not ? Taking on a classic film and putting it on television makes it impossible not to compare.

As far as subject matter, does it really fit today's sensibilities. Whereas the Polanski film places loose with the supernatural overtones, this film jumps right in to all the trimmings of a full-out horror tale. It is a tragedy where the hero is consumed by the evil it seemed innocent enough to overcome. The hero is not saved by innocence, she is destroyed because of it. The underlining theme of both the book and this film (not so much in Polanski's tale) is betrayal. Rosemary is ultimately betrayed by her new friends, her apartment, her husband and finally herself. She is dammed. Does that make sense in a secular world where religion is greatly deflated ? Maybe not everyone's cup of tea anymore.

Finally, this was produced by Saldana and her family. Perhaps that was too much, in the end, for her to chew.

Beautiful opus to Ip Man by Kar Wai Wong, 23 August 2014

This is a beautiful film to watch full of grace and pathos. Tony Chiu Wai Leung does a fine job as the central character Ip Man, although most of his story is told with voice overs in the English version. Through this character we experience the conflict of Martial Arts politics in the 1920's, the ruthlessness of the Japanese occupation and his life in exile. Starring beside him is the always beautiful and graceful Ziyi Zhang as Gong Er, a young woman forbidden to train, yet trained anyway by her father a master of the arts. The battle scene between Gong Er and her enemy, at a train station, was like a ballet. I was quite taken by the movements, the way the scene is lit, and the wonderful way it was cut together; showing great insight into cadence and rhythm.

I am not a fan of martial arts films, but like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon this is a film to be enjoyed not only for its action scenes but for its undeniable beauty.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Saccharine Christian Drama...not too bad., 21 August 2014

Wow, that Hadeel Sittu is beautiful and she acts the heck out of her part as a young Muslim girl who converts to Christianity regardless of her devout Islamic father. She was the most impressive actor in this cast with former Superman Dean Cain and Hercules whats-his-name...Kevin something. I watched this movie knowing it was Christian, and not really caring what someone believes in if it helps them get through the misery of their daily lives, I watched it for the story's sake.

It was typical of the David vs Goliath fable where a young man, poorly equipped, stands up against, a seemingly, mightier opponent.This type of myth structure has existed, more than likely, since before the people in Sumer began to write. In the end the hero wins and the opponent is destroyed...which is exactly what happens here. Did the director tell the story in a way that was appealing ? I think so. I was on the side of the hero, I wanted him to slay the dragon-- Metaphorically.

Where the movie fails is that it throws in stories that are meaningless. The Dean Cain role and his girlfriends cancer, the relationship between the professor and his girlfriend was simply devices to make atheists look bad...which is exactly what the atheist professor was trying to do to the Christian hero. Should I say hypocrite? nay, what's the point. Everyone finds ways to justify their own actions. Self-interest rules the day--always, regardless of the method of rationalization.

The movie looks better than most religiously produced movies (outside of the Mormon movies of the late 1970's and early 1980...I think they were called their "Home Front Series", but they were produced with high quality, well directed and edited also). The problem with these films is that often someone is producing who demands screen time for themselves and family members (I thought that the duck dope and his blond wife were such, but I could be wrong. People like him is one of the reasons that Christianity has such a bad name.) Other low budget movies have been ruined by such people (Think of Plan 9 From Outer Space.

I don't care to discuss religion with religionists (I will not call them Theologians either, since that suggests scholarship and let's face it most Christians--as we have found out--are dumb as dirt about their own religion outside of some bashing verses from the Bible), but I really do not give any credence to militant atheists. It is popular to be an atheist and I am beginning to see that some of the stupidest people I have ever met are part of their crowd now. Anyone who is militant about their beliefs suffers from anti social behavior disorders and should be shunned by society...regardless of what they believe.

The Wait (2013/I)
Indie pic stars to great actresses but lacks power, 19 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So...we wander through life until something happens that shatters the illusions that we have created for ourselves. Emma (Chloe Sevigny)the elder sister has been acting as Hospice nurse for their ailing mother, who in the opening of the film has finally died. The younger sister Angela (Jena Malone) has come to aid her sister. Also there are Emma's two children, who have their own subplots. Emma is not ready to let go of her mother and after a real or imagined phone call (you decide) which can be interpreted as saying her mother will soon be resurrected, Emma begins to prepare for the event.

The dynamics between the sisters is never really explored in a satisfactory way. We do learn that Emma is married and that Angela had a long-term relationship, that Emma considered toxic, that ended recently. Angela meets a younger man who she begins to develop a crush on. This relationship is also not explored to any satisfactory conclusion. If fact, I can see no reason for these subplots, and to be honest, would have though that the plot should have been less diluted by these meaningless subplots. Oh well, I am sure the writer/Director (M. Bash) know exactly what he was trying to say and as he continues in his career I really hope he gets that chance.

The film is pleasant to look at and visually it tells the story better than the plot does. Forest fires, sunlight falling through the forest, a horse being cleaned of the chemicals sprayed on the fire and finally two shocking videos played on the computer. The first of a young girl being hit by a train and a demon face (a la The Exorcist). Life shocks us back from our illusions to the reality of death and suffering. Far too film school in its approach, the director does get technological kudos for his ability to paint a picture that distracts from some serious plot and dialogue issues.

Red Lights (2012)
Spain thriller hides behind American credits and flops in BO and DVD, 17 August 2014

I think that no matter how well the main cast did with their roles, in the end what ruins this film is the cutting choices. Sigourney Weaver plays an intelligent, successful woman investigating a ridiculous subject (parapsychology)and you have to ask why ? Nobody in the sciences takes pseudo-science nonsense seriously enough to warrant the waste of such a brilliant mind. She has a secret,however, her son, who at age four takes a tumble in her office and is in a coma, and has been for many years. The interesting turn of events is that she was investigating Robert De Niro's character (Silver) at the time of the accident. There is one quick scene, a passing mention and poof it is gone from the film. This would be the only rational for her activities...it is almost completely lost in the editing of the film. Instead Cortes gives us another quick turn at the end that is not satisfying or even really explained. Just dumped on the audience with a few quick cuts to some re-angled shots from earlier in the film.

De Niro, is De Niro; powerful actor. Weaver, real talent; Murphy, first rate; and Olsen one of the best new actresses of our time. All of these actors do well. Maybe the problem is that Cortes, the director--writer--editor--producer, is not at home doing American films. He is not used to editing for American audiences. Maybe he is wearing far too many hats for a new director. Maybe this is the way things are done in Spain. Unfortunately, I did not go to see a film from Spain. You wonder why these actors did this film...it was filmed in Barcelona one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Outside of thinking of what Weavers motivations might have been, I did not find this film to be of any interest as a thriller. It was not thrilling, interesting or well made.

Contracted (2013)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Great actress bad movie, 8 June 2014

Really poorly directed and edited movie. Amateur all the way. The one rose in this bush of thorns is the main actress who seems out-of-place among the rest of the cast. She looks good and she has the ability to draw out of herself the emotions that would be necessary to reach the conclusion of her character arch. I also like her smile.

The idea begins as a morality tale of a girl whose relationship with her lover is breaking down. She goes to a party and either is drunk, given a roofie, or just decides to sleep with some strange guy (and even worse actor). She begins to get sick and over the course of three days begins to fall apart. The main problem with the story is the script, it is terrible. Don't get me wrong, the idea is there, but the problem is that it is never developed. There are far too many unnecessary scenes, ridiculous dialogue, plot holes and stairs to nowhere. It is a shame that this director/writer did not have the money to find a script doctor to save the life of his idea. In the end it was a terminal case.

Chase(ing) the 1960's in New Jersey get's a little lost., 22 March 2014

I don't want to say much about this film. The acting is above board which is to be expected from this cast and director Chase. The music is also top notch,Steven Van Zandt and 2 million dollars even buys you The Beatles to play during the credit roll.

This is a coming of age film set in the 1960's from the time of JFK's assassination till just before the time psychedelic rock (starting around 1967). It is not the best coming of age film I have ever seen and the 2nd act is all over the place leading to a very weak 3rd act and unsatisfactory conclusion. Speaking of the conclusion, I could not help thinking of David Byrne's conclusion to his 1986 True Stories. A young woman dancing in the middle of the road. I liked True Stories a lot, this film not so much.

There is one scene which blew me away, it's execution was wonderful. When the main character is driving away with his girlfriend, his father played by James Gandolfini is standing in the snow covered street. The camera is framed so perfectly at that moment and the actor is so at the top of his craft that I could not breath till the camera moved away. That is what film is about to me. To be carried away into the art I am seeing and trapped for a moment in it's arms is inspiring. For that alone I give the movie a 7.

See you next time...


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