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Tomorrow Is Forever (1946)
World War2 Mother's Love Story
My brother, Joe, joined the Marines right after Pearl Harbor, as an underage boy with false papers. So did his cousin. Now it's over seventy years later and for the first time I realize the anguish of my mother and all mothers when their sons went to war. Claudette Colbert stole my heart as she made me understand what my mother, and all mothers then and today, must have been going through when their sons (and now their daughters go to war).
I was 3 1/2 years old in 1942, and so during the war, while he was in the South Pacific, I heard my mother's stories about 'Brother Joe,' that she told so that I would understand that I had a brother and he would eventually come home and live with us.
Natalie Wood is a wonderful surprise as a tiny war orphan, perhaps eight years old; Orson Welles was at the top of his form, but Claudette Colbert was the brightest star of this film.
This is not an anti-war film, it's much more a 'why we must go to war film.' There's a lot of philosophy buried in the script, but it never slows the film.
Warning, bring at least two handkerchiefs to "Tomorrow is Forever".
The Prodigal (1931)
Better than people think
Falling in love with your brother's wife is a good starter. There's plenty of tension between the brothers. Their mother is in between but obviously sees the failings of the successful, stay at home, brother. His wife is bored as her husband fails to think of her...Lawrence Tibbitt gets to sing, and he's as good an actor as most opera stars(not very).
This reviewer was glad to her his voice. The justly criticized scenes with stereotyped darkies are as bad as you'll ever see, but Steppin Fetchet answered critics of his portrayals with the remark that he "laughed all the way to the bank."
I am pretty far to the left, but I judge art as a product of its time. The singing and dancing of African-Americans in this film was joyful and artful, though admittedly stereo-typed. It was not embarrassing.
Adult World (2013)
a no talent poetess seeks out a no talent poet to be her mentor.
Spoiler: This film is so poor that I am going out of my way to warn others.
A spoiled girl spends her parent's money to go to college and get a useless degree in Poetry. She indulges herself and believes that she has the stuff she needs to be a great poet even though she has never published and owns a huge collection of rejection letters. Like the author of the movie script, she forces others to listen to her adolescent drivel, and discovers a minor poet who has actually published (long ago) and whines begging him to take her on as his protégé, despite the fact that he does everything he can to make her understand that he is not interested.
The joke is on the audience--like the fictional poetess, the real author of the film is an amateur of negligible talent.
The Perfect Host (2010)
So many twist my back hurts
Look, I would have given it a ten but then what grade would I give to Bergman films?
I loved this quirky film. My wife, who likes action films didn't. But she stayed for whole film--so what does that mean?... I hate action movies but as you deduced this was almost a farce. very funny. Neither my wife nor I could remember who ordered from Netflix. She might have thought it was an action movie which she likes; or I might have read something about it in the New York Review of Books or the London Review.
As I said above, it has so many twists that my back hurts. Kept me guessing throughout.
Anyway I loved it. Have fun, see it.
Crime & Punishment, USA (1959)
Serious film for patient viewers
This is a well written script based on Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment." I think it is essentially a remake of a French film, with Jean Gabin,called "Crime and Punishment," later changed to "The Most Dangerous Sin," made around the same time. At any rate, self- justification, remorse, rationalization, guilt, and Truth are the subjects at hand. Each is handled slowly, without emphasis; the viewer is expected to bring much to the picture. This explains the films lower ratings. Hamilton, as an actor, is weak, others have been reminded of Tony Perkins. He was too handsome, and wasn't smart enough to use make up or a cheap haircut to make himself appear to be the poor student of his role. But, the real star is Frank Silvera, who underplays the cagey Detective, and is a joy to watch in action. He toys with Hamilton, who, unfortunately, just isn't his match (as an actor.) Marian Seldes plays Hamilton's long suffering sister.
The Long Good Friday (1980)
I don't know what was in the Director's mind when he approved the score for the film, but it is the worst movie music I have ever endured. Only Bob Hoskins kept me in my seat--I would have walked out if it weren't for Hoskins. A relatively young Helen Mirrin does a decent job with a peripheral role, but Hoskins is the quintessence of gangster boss;Hoskins suits were perfect. Every Boss will need to study the film so that they can understand how they should behave. A very original opening sequence, peaks the imagination; it's hard to understand what is happening, and why-- And a dramatic spit in the face at the beginning of the movie is finally explained towards the end. I shaved several stars off my review because of the jarring, twanging music.
Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
Harrison foreshadows Professor Higgins
This film brings us Rex Harrison already foreshadowing Professor Higgins. He tries out the arrogant, picayune, verbally acute role and is absolutely successful. The seed is planted and we, who know what is to come twenty years hence, rub our hands gleefully in anticipation of Higgins. But Linda Darnell is no Eliza. Instead, she is a loving, docile, trusting wife, already dressed as though she will be meeting the Queen and looking beautiful and so very desirable.
The dialog crackles and moves fast. Only Rex Harrison and perhaps Cary Grant could have have delivered with the wit and brio that Sturges deserved.
There are two extended slapstick scenes that should have been cut shorter.
Edgar Kennedy as a Private Eye has a couple of great scenes when he turns out to be a classical music devotee and is knowledgeably enthusiastic about Harrison's conducting.
A digression: Harrison tosses a couple of tickets to the Philharmonic concert, they are orchestra tickets a few rows from the front row. Price $3.80, designated as "Patron"' seats.
A woman alone unveils her life
This fascinating film depicts a woman alone, who spends her days caring for her adult son, as she would have cared for her husband had he lived. She performs the work expected of women in those days and digs well worn deep ruts into her daily ritual.
She is devoted to the work, and performs it without complaint day after day. To add to her income she takes a few male clients during the day when her son is at college. Her son shows no appreciation.
Her apartment is meticulously kept. She is economical in movement as well as in her life. The camera seems to photograph her with the same meticulousness with which she cares for her son and her apartment. As the film continues we realize that she has no feelings, that she has become an automaton. And her lack of feelings may be protecting her from a realization of the uselessness of her life. She fears feeling. And when she does feel, surprising us, a tragedy ensues.
This film requires much of the viewer--patience, compassion, a 'tragic sense of life.'
The Book of Eli (2010)
Great for sub-human teen boys
A human with with super-human or perhaps super-natural powers walks alone through the breadth of the United States after nuclear winter has struck. He must overcome many trials and does so using his formidable physical skill. Better than Robin Hood with a bow, better than David Carridine with his hands, shooting straighter than the Lone Ranger and having reflexes quicker than Jack Rabbit, he perseveres through the driest of deserts, the deepest of lakes, the swiftest of rivers. - You get the idea. So did I after the first five minutes. Mel Gibson did in 1979; there was no need for an updated remake. - There are two very beautiful women in the film, Mila Kunis, and Jenifer Beals; but neither could do better than take the director's direction--stand here, run there, smile, cry... - Why a man like Denzel Washington, thought this replay worthy of investing his own money and time I cannot fathom.
Coco avant Chanel (2009)
Where did Coco Chanel come from?
Audrey Tatou is believable as a very young Chanel. We see her grow up from 9 years until the beginnings of her success in Paris. The print I watched at Cinema Paradiso in Ft. Lauderdale seemed washed out. Was the director imitating french painting of the time? (pre WWI) Perhaps.
Chanel was very courageous. She tried anything. Horses, singing, and even men. The viewer sees her seamstress skills combined with her critical eye, and it's easy to understand why she became such a success. We meet two of her lovers and pull for them to become her guides and money men.
The settings in French Château's of the day are beautiful, the costumes perfect, Longchamp is created for the camera, as is an orphanage.