Reviews written by registered user
|30 reviews in total|
I'd like to see this Brit opus, which I viewed on TVOntario in 1989, again. As told through the eyes of a young girl, the story concerns a newly-arrived teacher in a rural Northern Irish community. Her unorthodox behaviour and attitudes create confusion, hostility and some admiration. There is a sub-plot where the class goes to Paris and views the famous statue of the title. Religion is under the surface in all this: the new teacher is viewed suspiciously because she never declares what foot she digs with. It's a good film deserving of a higher profile than it seemingly has.
I taped this around Christmas 2009 and have since made a habit of watching it on Boxing Day (Dec. 26). While it's not a great film, it's imaginative and likable, with nice performances from Winninger, Aubrey Smith, Ouspenskaya, et al. The idea of an afterlife that can be benevolent and not particularly religious seems a bit unusual for Hollywood. The spirit of generosity at Christmas and afterward is not too gooey and makes the film an overall feel-good experience. One note: when the estranged husband of Helen Vinson shoots her and Carlson, the character played by Charles Winninger is able to save the young man, who will doubtless be reunited with Jean Parker, but not Vinson. She is judged more harshly than justly. In this sense, the film could have kept within the bounds of generosity: though superficial and selfish, she didn't deserve to be killed. Nonetheless, it's a period piece nice to visit when there's snow on the ground.
This film is definitely from that much-quoted "golden age" of x-rated films (the theatres these films were shown in,though, were anything but golden). There is a basic story, actors spout dialogue (the one playing Krieger seems to have acting experience), and the camera-work is average at best. What distinguishes this entry is Linda Wong, one of the few porno actors (male or female) who could reasonably be called a knockout: attractive face and figure. As one blogger here queries, this film has at least a passing resemblance to "Apocalypse Now." But "Apocalypse Now" was based on "Heart of Darkness." Perhaps those involved in this film knew this work, and used it.
I've just finished an on-line viewing of this opus on the CBC's website and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it's well-acted, well-done and worthwhile: "Coronation Street" is a national, even international, phenomenon, and seeing its very beginnings is at least educational. It's interesting that William Roache is played by one of the Roache family--the actor himself felt that the show he had been cast in was only to run 13 episodes. The woman who plays Pat Phoenix was, I think, better-looking than the actual actress, and played here with conviction: Pat Phoenix was about to quit her acting career when offered the role of Elsie Tanner. That the show was conceived and initially pushed forward by a man, Tony Warren, who felt strongly that he had something to say that others would want to see shows the power of perseverance. As a long-time "Street" watcher, I am glad he, and those who supported him, got what they wanted.
This three-part series was just broadcast by TVOntario and gave a compelling, well-acted, and probably realistic account of what happened just a few years ago in a town that I wouldn't have imagined had a "red light" area (I'm recalling a TV production of "East of Ipswich" I saw years ago). The rough and suddenly dangerous lives of street prostitutes, some quite young and even presentable-looking, who walk the streets to feed a drug habit was well-done, as were their individual backgrounds and the difficulty they had keeping off substance abuse. I remember news reports of the time saying that public and official (including Prime Minister Blair) reactions to the killings were sympathetic to the victims (reaction to the victims of the "Yorkshire Ripper" was, reportedly, less so), and here the police are portrayed as compassionate if somewhat overwhelmed by the situation. The actual killer is apprehended toward the end of the third part; there's no explanation to his motive, only that he himself frequented--and finally murdered--streetwalkers. If anything, this drama recalled "Band of Gold," set in an even rougher milieu and with some of the same actors (David Bradley and one of the police officers) involved.One note of hope: the conclusion of the drama says that some of the girls were able to straighten out and leave the dangerous streets.
The trivia feature of the box set I've just purchased says (through subtitles) that this series was a great favourite of Jim Jarmusch. He may have liked it for the same reasons I do: it's a self-parody that is meant to be enjoyed as such. The series kept to the spirit of fun by not over-indulging in violence: there were at least as many kicks and punches as bullets flying, and those bullets never drew blood. The villains were take-offs on stereotypical baddies; the plots, while un-original, were again enjoyable as take-offs. The show had substantial sex appeal, though I confess (especially being Canadian)that I don't find Pamela Anderson that compelling physically. She does (or did) keep in shape, though, and can look good in hot pants. And that's part of what made V.I.P. enjoyable: good-looking, well-dressed people getting themselves into and out of ridiculous situations.
I just saw a French-language (w/subtitles) DVD of this film, which is/was famous for Martine Carol's bathing au naturelle. That is not the film's only nudity, and the film was probably thus censored upon release in the USA. Otherwise, the costumes and overall production values were impressive for the era, considering that European cinema didn't have Hollywood's finances. Martine Carol played the part adequately while showing a good figure for someone past the age of thirty (we could all do as well). I'm not sure if Pedro Armendariz spoke French, but he plays the part of Lucrezia's brother César credibly. This film is condensed and probably filtered history, though it is possible that the Borgias, especially Lucrezia, may suffer from a bad press. They had many enemies, some deserved, who may have exaggerated their deeds into misdeeds.
I bought a used VHS tape of this recently, and saw it for the first time in decades (I'd seen it on TV in 1972). I believe it's based on a real incident or incidents that took place in NYC in the mid-sixties. That two punks can hold a subway car hostage is realistic always; people don't want to get involved, and that could include any of us. Nonetheless, that that street crime has become more vicious--and armed--since then does diminishes its power. Then again, a switchblade can be as dangerous as a gun, and Musante's brandishing it would have been scary at any time. A well-acted piece, and interesting to see the late Ed MacMahon in a film. It was also interesting that this was Martin Sheen's first screen role, and as an aggressive punk. In reality, he's one of Hollywood's leading pacifists.
This is a wonderfully shot film whose story, while not totally believable, could serve as allegory. Perhaps the family of the Mexican fisherman-diver played by Armendariz would have been happier if he had not discovered the pearl at all, but the poverty that endangers their baby's life makes his joy at this discovery (in a good underwater scene) credible. Immediately afterward, he finds himself beset by freeloaders and robbers (including his own brother), and the spiral continues until it ends in flight, hunger, death and a sort of redemption: the pearl is hurled back into the sea that spawned it. Apart from the story, the highlight is the Mexican scenery, the village and villagers, and the skillful and evocative camera angles. As one reviewer wrote, it's unlikely a villagers' celebration would have been as elaborate as the one shown in "La Perla," but it is enjoyable. Perhaps one semi-cynical message that could be gained from this film is that if you strike it rich, tell as few people as possible.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a strong drama set in a Barcelona tourists and probably many residents of that city never see. It takes place in and around a public housing project inhabited by Arabs, Africans, and Gypsies. The central character is a young handicapped man entranced by rap music. His best friend is an African who has a difficult relationship with the father he lives with, along with a persistent drug problem. Both of these people make their living through petty crime, but decide they will now hustle toward a goal: opening a rap music studio. Through trial and error, they almost do so, only to see their dream studio literally go up in smoke when they are falsely suspected by a local gangster of having robbed him. This film is a powerful, downbeat depiction of people who survive--but barely.
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