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Approaching Union Square (2006)
They're all white...
I got caught up in this movie because of the first "monologue" with the psychiatrist. I knew it would have some sort of payoff later on, so I kept watching.
But I was expecting a gritty New York movie. That was shattered as soon as they showed all the people on the bus -- they're all white, pretty, preppy, and young 30s. And as the vignettes continued one after the other, we learned that they're all heterosexual.
I think there was a problem in taking what had originally been stage monologues and putting them into scenes with other characters: Most of the speakers came across as either so self-obsessed they were oblivious to letting anyone else speak (as in the woman speaking to her two friends about meeting the man), or surrounded by people who were tired of hearing them whine (as the woman who was talking to her roommate about her cell phone bill -- and where did they get all that floorspace in Manhattan?). Ultimately, I just wanted to shake these characters by the shoulders and yell, "Get over yourself!"
Remarkable Glenda Jackson
I was in college when PBS in the U.S. showed Marat/Sade. I was blown away by the remarkable performance of Glenda Jackson. I had never heard the name before, but I was certain she was a great actress who would have a brilliant career. With all the outrageousness on the screen, with the layers of her characterization -- a deeply disturbed woman putting in great effort to parrot her scripted lines in a staccato voice -- she truly disappeared into this "inmate" portraying the role of Charlotte Corday.
I've watched it again today for the first time in almost 40 years. And it still impresses me. Plus, I turned out to be right. Glenda Jackson proved herself to be one of the great actresses of her generation. Her decision to leave acting is a loss to all of us. I wish I could see what she would do with a new character at her present age.
Memorable after so long
I was 10 years old and remember there was so much talk about this episode that I was allowed to stay up late to watch it. The big deal at the time was about the camera lenses that were able to shoot at night (instead of the standard Hollywood day-for-night). It gave this show a grittier, more realistic feel than any of us had ever seen on television before.
And of course the naturalistic style of Peter Falk fed right into that. (We were from Brooklyn, so always rooted for the characters with New York accents.) The other thing I remember after more than 40 years was this friction between the two key characters: Peter Falk and Inger Stevens. I know his truck driver character was in a rush to get his load of tomatoes to market. It was a beautiful, emotional story and I wish I had access to it on DVD or somewhere so I could see it again.
That Final Swordfight
I have never seen a sword fight like the final one (the final version) in Rashomon. The husband and the bandit both act like REAL PEOPLE -- scared of death and horrified at the prospect of killing someone else...
I know there have been war movies that have shown people act this human.
There's been gunfights where you see the hand shaking and the terror in the eyes.
But any other sword fight I've seen seems mostly to show off fencing skills.
Can anyone name another sword fight in a movie that shows shaking hands and horror in the eyes? I'd really like to know.