Reviews written by registered user
lauramae

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12 reviews in total 
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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Dreamweaver, 24 June 2008
10/10

I was there and this is the way a lot of people lived, from the details in the props and costumes to the ambivalence toward the women's movement and open marriage.

In the Seventies, rehab was where repeat offender felons went. We were playing it by ear. I gasped when the new neighbor popped a Quaalude; it was possible to O.D. on two, if mixed with alcohol. Easyrider magazine ran a special editorial, warning its readers NOT to use this counterfeited prescription drug.

Swingtime shows both sides; the remorseful housewife who returns to church, family in tow, after her fling with the neighbors, the young girl disgusted with her mother's addiction and promiscuity, the kitschy hor-d'oerves and party games at the house-warming--can't wait to see if they get the best friend from the old neighborhood to give a Tupperware party! If you don't 'grok', you weren't there! Go back to your Xbox or Wi. The rest of us have a new guilty pleasure.

Thanks, CBS!

Unchained (1955)
13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Why isn't this available on DVD?, 15 August 2007
10/10

With all the junk that has "bonus" material available when it goes straight to video, it's a shame that this lost gem isn't released yet. I saw it on TV when I was in my teens. I loved the song. It's the version that comes to mind first for me, before the Platters or the Righteous Brothers version. The plot details are a little hazy, which is why I was hoping that it had made the cut.

Would whoever holds the rights to this movie please release it on DVD? I'd really enjoy seeing it again. It doesn't have the star power of The Defiant Ones, perhaps, but it was well-written and acted. The fact that it was filmed 'on location' at Chino when this wasn't common.

Thanks to everyone else here that's posted about the movie.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Older than the Pyramids, 4 May 2006
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wish that this documentary were available on DVD. The research was meticulous. The full size replica of the ancient site turned out to be a combination observatory/temple/theatre with surround sound acoustics. If someone at the National Geographic Channel reads this, PLEASE RELEASE THIS PROGRAM ON DVD!!! I would buy it in a New York minute.

Archeologists traced the origins of the blue stones to a quarry in Wales and proved how they could have been ferried in boats to within a mile or so of the building site.

Stone masons used primitive methods to show how the unique granite could have been shaped, transported using logs as rollers and then set in place with pulley and leverage systems. It was fascinating viewing.

"Casanova" (1971)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
PBS--release this on DVD!!!, 5 January 2006
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have most of this miniseries on VHS. The players were all outstanding. It was great then, and it's traveled very well. Finlay's scoundrel is totally engaging. The nudity was scandalous at the time, but fairly tame in retrospect.

Venice in the 18th century was a paradox. The city was a center of commerce and art, a city-state. On the other hand, there was the Inquistion. Giacomo Cassanova pushed the envelope. He read the 'wrong' books, he reviled superstition, and he had an overwhelming, ahem, admiration for erotic liaisons. This series revolves around his walk across the Bridge of Sighs to the Leads and the things he did that brought him there. He survived the awful experience and lived to a ripe old age.

With the upcoming "Casanova Lite" at theaters, perhaps PBS will finally release this gem on DVD. We can only hope...

"Casanova" (1971)
11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Why isn't this available on DVD or ?!!!, 23 March 2004
10/10

This was shown on KCET (LA's PBS affiliate) in the early Eighties. The production values and acting were excellent. I have part of it on tape. I loved this series on a lot of levels and wish that it was available on DVD or VHS.

Frank Finlay was outstanding in the title role. If you get the chance, watch this miniseries. It explores the sacred and profane, censorship and societal mores. It also follows the exploits of a sensualist scoundrel. Casanova may have been a sexual sociopath, but he had panache!

it was considered risque at the time of its production, but I've viewed my copy recently and it has traveled well. Watch it from "cover to cover" if you get the opportunity.

Maiden, Mother & Crone, 23 October 2003
10/10

I have read the "book"(the screen writer's thesis paper). There are bits left out of the movie that would have put even more of a spin on the plot. Maude draws smiles on the saints' statues in the church--she believes that anyone intimate with the Divine should be blissfully happy.

It works on the level of ancient pre-Christain religion archetypes of the cyclical nature of life and rebirth. It gets mentioned several times in the movie. She is the Crone of the triune goddess, teaching the youth about life and love.

The context of the movie must be seen as a retort to the Vietnam war, where men even younger than Harold's character were being used as mortar fodder on a daily basis. The draft was inescapable for the majority of young Americans at that time, which makes his uncle's diatrabes about the glory of Army life extremely ironic. Maude's soliloquy in the military cemetery is bittersweet. "I feel that much of world's sorrow comes from people who are this(living things), yet allow themselves to be treated as that(endless rows of tombstones in the VA cemetery)."

Harold "has it all" but having and being are two different animals. Bliss is not something that can be picked up at Macy's. His mother keeps trying to fix his outsides to make the inside all right, with disatrous results for her pawns.

If you look at the symbolism for the Major Arcana of a Tarot deck, you find the ground that Harold & Maude flourished in. If you take this movie too literally, you will miss a lot of the humor. This started out as a rock opera.

Hal Ashby had a very wicked sense of humor. Look at the sly wit of "Being There", his last film.

Unfortunately for our world one of Maude's observations still rings true "Zoos are full, prisons are overflowing--oh my, how the world still dearly loves a cage!"

When Harold describes his adventures with chemistry, she gives him more excellent advice--"A lot of people enjoy being dead, but they're not, really; they're just backing away from life. Reach out take a chance; get hurt even--play as well as you can--L-I-V-E, live; otherwise you've got nothing to talk about in the locker room."

When was the last time you heard a character in a movie be that direct? This is the opposite of self-absorbed. Words to live by (bad pun). It took a time, a place, and a generation to make a movie like Harold & Maude. We weren't self-absorbed, we were reaching out for understanding in a world turned upside down. If you don't get this movie, don't despair. There's Prozac, internet porn, Botox, and a volunteer army. Play it safe...

8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Lost Classic, 31 May 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this movie for the 1st time on proto-cable (Select TV) in the early Eighties. John Heard is over the top in the role of a lifetime. Jeff Bridges is the cluelss 'beach boy' who can't reconcile his amorality and his affection for his best friend's wife. Cutter carries his rage and war wounds like a Bronze Star and uses them to guilt the world into letting him have his way. Then there's Lisa Eichorn, who loves them both and can't forgive herself for it. Each character is morally bankrupt and foundering. Then "Bone" finds a corpse in a dumpster and the Fate has her way with all of them.

(Spoiler)

It isn't clear (at least to me) whether Eichorn's character's death is a horrible accident, a suicide, or part of a conspiracy to frighten the amateur sleuths into silence. The plot turns slowly on a dime and builds to a slo-mo frenzy. "Who killed the girl?" becomes a litmus test for the nature of each of the protaganists.

I intend to buy this on DVD. It's not a 'blockbuster'. If you don't get the premise of the movie, or if you're not into character studies, rent "The Terminator". This is technicolor noir, with John Heard at the top of his game. Pull the curtains, break out the Jiffy Pop and stay on the edge of your seat for about an hour and a half.

Shenandoah (1965)
30 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
Timing is everything, 25 January 2003

I saw this movie the 1st time with my dad when I was in grade school. It brings up a lot of big issues. Like "High Noon" or "The Searchers" there is an underlying theme that may or may not have been intended. Released in 1965 when Vietnam was just beginning to become a hot issue. In his last 'chat' with his dead wife, he vocalized a dove perspective on war in general--that the people who think that war is a good idea usually aren't the ones who will be dodging bullets, chemical weapons or bombs.

Having the youngest son rescued by an African American was also a daring move at the time.

Worth a look. It may not be historically accurate, but it touches on some important and timely, considering the nature of current events.

22 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Peace in our time?, 11 November 2002

I have seen this movie several times and catch something different every time I see it. Today is the first time I've seen it from the beginning. In the context of the time it was made, it was a bold statement about the human factor in any war. Brando shines and plays a sympathetic character who sees first hand the evil that men do in the name of patriotism.

Made at a time when the Americans that liberated the concentration camps were in their prime and there weren't any idiots running around claiming it was a lie, we see how ordinary citizens respond to the unthinkable. Brando's character stands in for the citizens of the Reich who claimed they were clueless about the genocide while the ashes from the smokestacks fell like snow on their towns. We see the horror and the denial.

It briefly explores a major taboo--interracial/interfaith marriages. It looks at racism in the context of anti-Semitcism (unfortunately still alive and well in America) and one man's courage in opposing it. Ironic this brand of racism, as the founder of the prevelant religion in America was a Jewish rabbi.

This movie is worth the 3 hours of time; it would make a great set piece with "Judgement at Nuremberg" which also showcases the talents of many of the actors from this film.

Good acting from all players in this film. It presages Robert Altman with the interweaving of the characters' lives from the first shot where Barbara Rush and Brando debate the merits of the Fatherland to the last scene in the forest where the end comes full circle.

35 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Hip, Slick and Dead, 7 September 2002

I lived in L.A. in the Eighties and remember the club scene with a chill. From Eddie Nash's joint on Hollywood Blvd[The Seven Seas] to Club Lingerie to the small venues in Long Beach and Orange County, this movie catches the ennui like a manic firefly in a jar. From the 'powder' in the ladies' room to casual sex, it shows it as it was--callow and shallow and a line/hit away from degradation and death.

It's heart-breaking to watch Robert Downey Jr.'s character surrender his dignity to a free base pipe. Other posts complain about the James Spader's performance, but he was dead on. Pushers are not nice people. This is an early cinematic example of truth about the nature of drug addiction. Are you frightened? NOT FRIGHTENED ENOUGH!

Scare yourself straight tonight. Watch 'Drugstore Cowboy', 'Less than Zero', and 'Rush'.

Here's hoping that Robert Downey Jr.'s talent will not be eclipsed by his addiction. He's an amazing actor. ['Chaplin' & 'Restoration' alone earned him a place in cinematic history.]


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