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Vile, insipid, propaganda; Gives revisionists a bad name
Okay, you LOVE, Lincoln. The person, not the movie. Why? You think he "freed the slaves." You think he gave his life for the abolition of slavery, and was a champion of the equal rights of blacks, and the defender of the Constitution?
Well, then, yes, you'll love this movie just like you loved, "The Wizard of Oz." Reality doesn't make an appearance.
Lincoln in his own words:
"I am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position."
"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. . ."
Further, Lincoln clearly and openly denied the equality of the races and was of the opinion that the "solution" to slavery was to deport all blacks back to Africa.
Lincoln ordered his military to close down opposition newspapers in the NORTH, and to arrest their editors and publishers. Same with judges. Lincoln ordered the genocide that Sherman rendered upon the South. So much for the Constitution, and 50,000 CIVILIAN deaths ensued. Look it up.
He freed the slaves? Nonsense. Emancipation could have been achieved as it had throughout the world through peaceful means. Lincoln needed the war (Emancipation was, in his own words, a military tactic) in order to decimate the South and prevent any future thought of secession. It was done as it only could have been done, not by Presidential order but by a Constitutional amendment. Besides, the way it was worded, the E.P. actually freed NO ONE.
So, if you liked Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, or, The Hobbit, you'll LOVE Spielberg's Lincoln. After all, it was based on the book by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Star Trek: Voyager: Muse (2000)
Remarkable Script that no one seems to "get."
Here is the finest script in the Voyager literature, perhaps in the top 10 of all S.T. scripts. It is about Star Trek, itself, its inception and purpose and Roddenberry's vision for the show.
For those who may not know Star Trek came along when the US was becoming more and more heavily involved in Viet Nam. Roddenberry believed, as did others that great art, theater, etc, when done thoughtfully and meaningfully would emancipate the human race from all it's faults, that faults that bring humans to the brink of war. So much of the original series was about that very point, and here we have it played out beautifully, with B'lanna the ersatz Roddenberry and the play she and the playwright virtually improvise a plea for clear headed thinking that would lead to a peaceful resolution of a military conflict. It's all there.
Please note the beauty of the final image. It doesn't get better than that on television. Well done.
It Happened in Brooklyn (1947)
One that gets better with age, like Durante!
Viewed this again recently for the ump-teenth time, and found it more entertaining than ever. We are so bombarded by the "relevant," and, "realistic," in films and TV today that "mere" entertainment has been lost, a forgotten craft, almost to be held in contempt.
Sadly the lessons of J.L. Sullivan have to be learned over and over again, and so, with "It Happened In Brooklyn," I was reminded of what made entertainment entertaining. Great songs, funny little bits, charming scenes and characters, and most of all, nothing serious. Except fun.
Wonderfully tuneful the soundtrack provides a diverse score of popular and classical numbers all, perfectly appropriate to the action and, in the case of Sinatra and Grayson's rendering of Mozart, "La Ci Darem La Mano," a wonderful curiosity not to be missed! Sinatra's delivery of the duet is one way to successfully portray the character: a non-threatening seduction, beginning innocently with, "Give me your hand," or, as the Beatles would say years later, "I wanna hold your hand," and it works very well. Sinatra's easy manner, letting the melodies flow out of him as though he were speaking them, is charming. Grayson's voice is grating at times, but her presence is so sweet and delectable that we forgive it.
There is also a delightful setting of a Bach Invention for Grayson and her music students, that is true to the original text and quite lovely. Grayson also has a chance to shine in the "Bell Aria," from Delibes, "Lakme." She impresses, though not overwhelmingly. For the part in this movie, it's perfect. And it's ENTERTAINING.
The highlight musical number is Durante/Sinatra's, "The Song's Gotta Come From Da Heart!" -- a perfect vehicle for Durante's antics, which remain awfully funny. What a pro! The likes we have none of today.
Sinatra's "Brooklyn Bridge," "love song," is another priceless moment, filmed on location ON the Brooklyn Bridge.
Peter Lawford is appropriately stuffy and does not interfere with the fun.
All in all it is not Sinatra's film, or Grayson's or Durante, who comes closest to "stealing" it. It is ours. For it is we who find ourselves pleased and satisfied by the light airiness of the joy of "movies." Bravo!
Up and Down Short Biography Series
Ultimately disappointing series with some very good highlights, one specifically would be the two-part episode devoted to Hugh Hefner. One would think, "Hugh Hefner. . . who cares?" But it turned out to be fascinating, insightful, and as much about a time in America as Mr. Hefner. Well done.
However, missing from the pantheon of notables who have had a Bio devoted to them is Al Jolson. Here we have, arguably, the greatest stage performer in the history of Broadway, a star of the highest magnitude whose life story is still compelling. Yet the good people of Biography did not think him worthy of an episode? Badly done.
Powerful imagery will burn into your memory; a genuine masterpiece
Even now, days later, the image of Crawford's face and she descends into prayer is so striking in my memory that I can feel her remarkable metamorphoses. The combination of acting, direction, and lighting, and whatever else goes into a creating an unforgettable moment in film, is rare. And the film is filled with such moments.
Crawford was never better, and not better since. But beside the acting, Huston is superb, does not miss a note, the film itself, despite its location and combination of characters is disturbingly real. Part of that is the use of incessant sounds of rainfall. Eerie. Portentous. So the atmosphere of the film is always charged, charged with the characters presence, with the rain, or the dark/light contrasts or with all of them. All to exceedingly grand and powerful effect.
And what a great last line!
Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
Brilliant, "must-see" film for the thinking person
Pity the poor folks here who missed the point. That is, several points.
Above all, the statement on film-making and acting: how seriously can a director take his craft, and actor take his acting to where it becomes criminal, even evil? But there is so much here. Willam Dafoe is brilliant. His entrance may be the greatest screen entrances of all time. Wow. But his mimicry of the Max Schrch, his consistently inhuman presence up until the very end is frightening at the same time as it is (in light of the "method" actor) constantly amusing.
Malkovich is also brilliant as the equally insane Murnau. The final line: "I think we got it," says it all, all about his character, and the industry.
It Happened One Night (1934)
You see how easy it is to make a perfect film?
Have a single artist in charge. Capra, from top to bottom shines through this little fairy tale. Of course, he had to be lucky enough to land Gable and Colbert. Well, luck is the residue of perspiration, or something like that. . .
IHON is NOT the first "screwball" comedy. It is not a light, fluffy piece of "Capra-corn." Nor is it a fairy tale.
This unique and remarkable film stands alone like a Colossus astride converging worlds of film-making, unable to be categorized, refusing to fit into a formula.
It is filled with reality: the scourge of the depression is never far away, the charm of ordinary people, in ordinary situations, making them far from ordinary. The ugliness of people, so easily drawn to crime of one kind or another, and the human spirit, resilient, flawed, stubborn, immature at times, and confused, lifting itself about all.
**Spoiler** An excellent example of this (there are a multitude) is the singing of "The Man on The Flying Trapeze". A spontaneous celebration of humans sharing a common experience and musical language (long lost, tragically, today) which elevates them (if just for a moment) above the difficulties of their lives. How beautiful. Then, we are shocked back to a different reality with the passing out of the child's mother. This is quite disturbing and not the usual fodder of the so-called "screwball" comedy. No, it approaches the works of Chayefsky or Wilder, or rather, they approach this films juxtaposition of the tragic and the comic.
As far as the performances, look--Gable is perfect. It is impossible to take one's eyes off him for a moment and I say this as a confirm heterosexual. Gable is MAN, child, Sage, and fool, wrapped up in Peter Warne, a complete and fully realized human character. Bringing him to life, Gable is brilliant. It may be the greatest (forgive me, Jack Lemmon) single comedic acting performance ever made. Gable. No wonder they called him, "The King." Colbert is as well, as perfect, not a missed moment or note. She glides through the role as an ice skater warming up before an event, free and unencumbered, angry, vulnerable, phony, pure and wise. All can be seen in her visage and tone. What a performance.
Roscoe Karns. Need I say more? I hope not. Perfect.
Please note the absence of a soundtrack. None is necessary as the film provides its own, in its counterpoint of people of a multitude of melodic styles, faces, colors, attitudes (OH, yeah?!?!?), in its flight from fear to laughter, in its harmony of all these playing simultaneously. Who needs a soundtrack.
A touching, intelligent, and long overdue film
Lost amidst the silliness of Jolson's use of "blackface" and the oft mis-told story (and stories) of his life, is the ever pervasive theme of Jolson's commitment to American Servicemen. No other entertainer, even Bob Hope, was so dedicated and tireless in his efforts to bring a little ray of sunshine to the troops, particularly those overseas.
And no other performer paid so high a price, enough to prompt President Truman to declare Jolson a "casualty of war."
This is an important story to remember, to contemplate, and most of all,to know. If you are failed to be moved, fail to find a tear on your cheek, you weren't really listening.
I thank the producers of this touching, beautifully made film for such an intelligent, thoughtful and valuable effort.
Joseph Ciolino New School University NYC
Brilliant, touching, poignant, and very, very thought provoking
Thanks largely to the touching performances of Coral Browne and Ian Holm this little film breaks through the border of simple story-telling to reach the heights of the profound.
It will be missed by many viewers. But as you watch this film, pay special attention to the feelings and thoughts that are provoked within you at certain key moments, for example, at the scene of the picnic the lake or any of Alice's recollections. Your reactions should be complex, maybe conflicted, and at the conclusion of the film, you may be completely satisfied but not know why. But your heart will know.
The subtle messages and meanings of this simple story cannot fail to move you, if you remain open to them. Do not be distracted by lack of drama or a mundane script. They are mere incidentals. The "truth" is there, and will astonish you.
Don't thank me, just pass it forward
What you're thanking me for is saving you from the humiliation, revulsion and possible projectile vomiting that will ensue upon watching this offensive, dreadful series.
"Be afraid... be very afraid..." A famous movie line which serves as apt advice for anyone foolish enough to consider viewing "ThirtySomething." Why such harsh words, you may ask? Answer: The "show" (for want of a better word) is a collection of glimpses into lives of people you will either hate or (hopefully) not care the least bit about; it is self-absorbed, pretentious in the extreme; it is childishly melodramatic. It is lacking in even an iota of cleverness, intelligence, or artfulness; it is offensive, really, in what it pretends to be, but never delivers. Worse than being an accurate portrayal of life among useless yuppies, it is a BORING portrayal of life among useless, narcissistic yuppies.
So, if you like your TV humorless, your drama vapid, and your characters hateful but bland, then by all means, by the DVD right away. Otherwise, heed my warning: there's nothing to fear but this awful series.
Peace, love, and flowers.