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Black Dahlia (2006)
Beg to differ.
Well, here we go. I thought the premise of this film was BRILLIANT! (Yes, I hear all the boos and the WTFs.) It seems everyone hates this film; I loved it. The subject of the "Black Dahlia" is always a catch phrase for a great deal of interest and hubbub. No one knows what really happened. The premise of this film gives an exciting take on one scenario that I didn't see coming. The blood and gore (really out there) was just a prologue for the REAL story. I suppose I don't have a great deal of imagination but... I never saw it coming. What a concept. I was mesmerized as well as troubled in getting my head around just how people could be so cruel. The female torturer, Kate (all 5'3" of her), would definitely make AFI's top villains of all time if this movie was not so low profile. As I mentioned previously, no one knows what the true story of the Black Dahlia is. This premise is fascinating and better than most. Captivating finale. ***SPOILER*** I really don't see any spoilers here but I don't want to take a chance on being blacklisted.
Final Solution (2001)
The power of the this film is overwhelming.
When I tuned into this movie, expecting another rehash of the Holocaust, I was not prepared for what came next. The beginning of the film, masterfully depicted as an action sequence, was grippingly realistic as a faction of South Afrikaaners (c. 1993) move in to slaughter as many residents of a black township as they can. They are shockingly met by an equally fervent group of black urban guerrillas who, almost to a man, slaughter them. One survivor is brutally massacred in a pyre of gasoline. Another seeks sanctuary in a black church and this is where the story really begins.
The portrayal of two equally poisonous hatreds bursts from the screen and, slowly, we see bits and pieces of ourselves in their pitiable yet sadly understandable biases, deeply rooted in decades of oppression, resentment and bitterness. As different individuals vent on their personal histories and resulting convictions, the relentlessly ensuing tale of mindless rationalization, family history, and, perhaps, ultimate salvation, is as moving as anything I have ever witnessed on the screen; a metamorphosis as compelling as it is surprising.
I can't believe that there is someone out there who hasn't experienced at least some of the moral dichotomies and quandaries that this film so exquisitely portrays.
Sit back, ponder, and be amazed at this movie.
Watch on the Rhine (1943)
Just a bit dated.
Having always wanted to see this film, I took the opportunity and was only mildly disappointed, mostly because, let's face it, it is dated. The relevance seems to have paled over the years. Really, just two observations:
1) How they didn't give Bogart the Oscar for "Casablanca" I don't get. (Why are "Casablanca", 1942 and "Watch...", 1943 in the same competition?)
2) (Not really a S*P*O*I*L*E*R)The reference Paul Lukas makes to "World War One" I found interesting since "World War Two" hadn't started yet, at least in the framework of this film. I believe, at that time, it was either "The Great War" or, simply, "The War". Very prescient of him.
Still, it is a minor classic and one should view as much of Lillian Hellman's work as one can.