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Adam & Steve (2005)
Somewhat of a valiant effort...
Okay, so this movie had some funny moments, but most of it just left me cold--like it was trying too hard and somehow ended up being too artificial and too phony. I thought the love story was cute, for what it was worth, but some of the subplots left me scratching my head. For example, I find it hard to believe that there are a great many red-Becky Jersey boys (and hillbillies, apparently) in the Village who are going to throw beer bottles at gay men who express affection towards one another. I've been to the Village before and think the bottle throwers would definitely be bashed back. Not to mention the harassment from the window...omg....is this a lame attempt at humor or seriousness towards the fact that hate still exists? Either way, it felt very out of place.
And Adam's family (ba ha ha--just got that one...!) seemed nothing but a one line lame joke. Did we have to cross over into 3rd rate physical comedy to make some point about a curse? The movie did have its highlights--Parker Posey and Chris Kattan had their moments, the dance off was funny and it did make some interesting points about the human condition and relationships: I liked it when Adam asked Steve what he wanted, and he blurts out: "I don't know!!" Not an easy thing to admit.
All in all, "Adam and Steve" has given me a little bit of hope that someone out there might make a gay-themed movie that won't insult my intelligence.
Hard Candy (1976)
Not the Citizen Kane of 70's porn, but worth a nostalgic look.
Okay, first of all let's just say that there is seldom (if ever)"good" porn--I've yet to encounter anyone who watches these films for their fine artistic quality, so let's get that "Oh, this is so bad!" out of the way.
Although this movie is terribly amateurish, chaotic and lacks any real plot devices (I wonder if they just made up a lot of it as they went along) I think that we need to look at how the porn industry was different back in the 70's--first of all there was no home video, to speak of and there were probably a lot of perverts out there watching this in a theatre, not at home, so I figure they'd try and make it halfway entertaining--and I use that term loosely. But where do you draw the line between non-sexual subplots (read: a waste of time) and a little dialogue to get us to the sex scenes?
We could have avoided the 3 guys looking for the gates of Troy (I thought they might be going for a gay subplot[we have 2 of them playing cards on the beach in their Speedos!], but alas, no....)and the one portly fellow (who looked like he could've been Ron Jeremy's uncle)in the bad pajamas/bunny outfit.
3-D is never a good idea; especially when it doesn't work all that effectively and they put too much effort to remind the viewer that stuff is coming at us (other than the sex scenes). Do I really want a point of view from the inside of a trash can? No.
This movie was good for a laugh--the music, hairstyles of the 70's [both north AND south! LOL], but my main complaint was that is was WAY too long at close to 2 hours, I was nodding off at this midnight show. It was also pretty novel to be in a public theatre watching porn with a bunch of strangers and not in the privacy of my own home! All that nervous laughter at the first scene--but who can blame the patrons when they are given no warning and then BAM--there it is on a BIG screen in 3-D!
Worth a late night laugh with some good friends...recommended with reservations.
The Omen (1976)
What the Devil?! This one doesn't hold up well....
I remember this movie being just the scariest movies ever; I actually recall reading the movie ads as a 7 year old (yes, even then!) and thinking Gregory Peck's first name was "Georgy." :)
Anyway, I remember finally getting to see the Omen on cable and being quite impressed; however, I saw it recently and am sad to say that it does not hold up well at all.
The whole "Child-as-Satan," "Dog-as-Satan,""Anything You Want as Satan" themed movies are now cliche almost 30 years after this film came out, so there's one reason why it looks so cheesy after so long. I noticed is alternately quiet (sometimes filled with overbearing dialogue)and terribly noisy (I hit the mute button during the scary dog attack..! Dogs barking, the 2 men yelling, and that horrid Satanic Mormon Tabernacle Choir going to town! My ears!!)
I guess another thing I disliked was the altogether SERIOUSNESS of the movie....is there anyone who smiles in this movie just because they're happy?? Okay, maybe Lee Remick. Once. *SPOILER* I still recall the Mad Magazine parody where as Gregory Peck's character is about to kill Damien, he tells the cops, "But you don't understand, this child is the DEVIL!!" and the cop responds, "Eh, my kid's no angel, either, but I'm not gonna KILL him for it!" LOL I would've liked to had a couple jokes thrown in here and there...someone with a pitchfork, Damien learns his multiples of "6" very quickly...a cameo by Marilyn Manson...ANYthing to lighten the mood!
Kinda funny that Holly Palance (Jack's daughter and used-to-be co-host of Ripley's Believe it or Not) plays Damien's dedicated, yet tragic first nanny.
Anyway, a sad letdown...
Really Rosie (1975)
Much to my surprise, this show (along with other Maurice Sendak works) is finally available on DVD; the two stories I enjoyed the most were "Pierre" and "Chicken Soup with Rice." I cannot honestly comment on the others in the show ("Alligators ALl Around" and "One was Johnny"). Carole King's whimsical songs are still very singable and are just a lot of fun!
I recall being caught up with the music from this when I was in 1st grade; my teacher had a tape and I listened to it incessantly, singing along...with headphones on! :) My parents liked hearing about that one..but I digress.
The animation for the show is a bit stilted (no worse than any Anime' I've seen!), but the stories and the encouragement for kids to use their IMAGINATIONS is certainly welcomed! Of course, with "Pierre" you get the obligatory message ("CARE!!")and that's fine. The story is told with so much whimsy and frivolity that the moral is kind of a surprise reminder by the end!
Once again, if the video of this is not for you, then at least check out the songs or the books individually. They are worthwhile on their own. Imagine my surprise when I grew up from 1st grade and found out that Carole King was famous for songs OTHER than those from "Really Rosie"! What a cool surprise.
What? No boiling bunnies?!
I will be glad when Jesse Bradford moves out of these bland teen films that are so predictable and unoriginal. Okay, "Bring It On" was cute but that was because of the charming Kirsten Dunst! He is talented and deserves to be put into better films with maturer roles.
Okay, so this is a ripoff of just about every teen movie we've seen on some level and every "I had an impulsive sexual encounter with the wrong person and now I am oh-so sorry I did THAT (or her...him) and now my whole life is screwed up" movie. I simply sat there and thought to myself, "Okay, now that everyone/everything seems normal, when does it all hit the fan?" It does, soon enough.
There are a couple surprises, but overall I found this tedious and disappointing. By the way, Jesse is easy on the eyes, (it's worth it to slow the DVD and catch a glimpse of his pubic hair in one underwater shot!!) but after hearing him on the DVD commentary, I wonder about the brains...how does one confuse the words "prostate" and "prostrate" so easily?! He does! Aw Jesse, I know you're not paid to be smart!
Worth checking out if there's nothing else to see...although Jesse in his swimsuit isn't so bad! :)
Restored print is amazing!
For being 75 years old, this film holds up remarkably well. The restored version(the most complete to date) gives us a glimpse of what Lang had really intended. The countless cut-up and blurry copies of the past should be thrown out (my "cheap" version I bought for $5 has entire scenes that are out of focus!). I was anxious about seeing this version since I had seen the Moroder version back in the 80's and was so turned on by the color-tinting and now-unbearable synth-pop music! However, I must give Moroder credit for getting me interested in this film in the first place.
The original score for the film gives the remarkable visuals a solid companion piece and is extremely moving at times. The film is a visual spectacular; the sets and special effects are quite remarkable for their time. Froelich and Helm are solid as the two driving forces behind the story; although I really had to distance myself from the fact that the excessive gesturing (Helm repeatedly touches her breast in her surprise/amazement in one scene) nearly all the actors engaged in was simply commonplace in silent films. Helm as the "Machine Maria" and "Human Maria" is simply amazing...her body language tells us exactly which character she is playing; it is a wonder that her career was not as noteworthy after "Metropolis."
I am eager to see this restored print on DVD and would love to see how the
restoration process was carried out--the work here is nothing short of remarkable. I was saddened every time I had to read a "descriptor" screen for the scenes that were not recovered and are now most certainly lost forever. Another sad reminder of the legacy of lost movies from an almost-forgotten era.
Camille Claudel (1988)
Adjani was robbed of her Oscar!
Isabelle Adjani is stunning as the title character in this rich and passionate film. I am amazed anytime an actor or actresses changes physically in the part of a film (and without tons of make-up and special effects, either!)and Adjani does this remarkably well! We as an audience are just as stunned as Eugene Blot when he finds Camille drunk and spiraling into the depths of madness. Her appearance is nothing less than shocking.
The film as a whole is engaging with a whirlwind of emotions--rage, sadness, torment, bliss; by the time the nearly 3 hours are up, I am exhausted. Adjani and Depardieu are part of that emotional energy as they passionately go at it--sex, sculpture and anger; especially when it comes to the latter. It is almost worth it to stop reading the subtitles and listen to them rage and lash out at one another.
Adjani is powerful in so much of this film...I am amazed she didn't receive that best actress Oscar she was up for. Her torment and pain is riveting--especially in French. I am glad they did not decide to dub this film into English; hearing Adjani sob and ask "Pourquoi? Pourquoi?" would be empty with her mouthing the words "Why? why?" in English.
The film as a whole is a bit long, but overall is stunning. The sad epilogue is even sadder if you know that Claudel's remains were interred in a mass grave after her brother Paul failed to claim them from her original grave [the asylums only interred bodies in individual plots for a certain amount of time; space was at a premium.] So, the brilliant Camille Claudel's remains ended up in an unmarked grave mixed in with others who went unclaimed, as well.
Pennies from Heaven (1981)
Underrated and unique musical!
A splendid and unique film that is one of my all-time favorites. The look and feel seems very authentic of the 1930's and the performances are top-notch. I can see why the musical portions of the movie were distracting to audiences back in 1981, but they reveal so much about the characters and their feelings and emotions. The intense longing for something better in life (a familiar notion to many people in the 1930's)seems to be a common theme throughout this film and the musical numbers show that vividly--with everything from big production numbers and costumes to something as simple as a change in lighting to show the transition. The authentic songs convey the emotions in the film and are terrific in carrying along the plot with their lyrics of joy, heartbreak or (forbidden) sexual feelings. The irony between the musical numbers and the somberness of the whole film never ceases to amaze me. Jessica Harper is underrated in her performance mostly because her character changes less than Martin or Peters' characters do; however, her suggested punishment of her husband at the end of the movie does indicate she is making changes of her own! I can see why Steve Martin calls this one of his favorite films! Would be great to see this film get more of the respect I think it deserves.