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Leaving Metropolis (2002)
"How could I ever have drowned in someone as shallow as you"
What a great line.
I had never heard of the stage play, "Poor Superman," but, I wasn't one bit surprised to find at the ending credits that this was a film based on a play, and that the original playwright had penned the screenplay.
I haven't read the other comments on here, and really don't have to--but, I am shocked at the user rating. I thought this was a wonderful movie that I picked up out of the "GAY" section of our local video rental chain. I "try" gay films. In essence, I watch for about 20 minutes, and if the acting is horrible and the plot is inconceivable, I generally stop it and move on. I thought this movie was wonderful--plain and simple. The script wasn't far fetched, the situations weren't forced, and even though I tried like hell to predict where it was going, I couldn't. I kept waiting for it to disappoint me, and it didn't. The natural flow of the film is unlike any other "indy gay flick" you've ever seen. I found all the characters believable, with some of the best dialogue I've heard in a while. As a playwright, I was totally engaged, and would recommend it to anyone who asked me for my opinion.
Searching for Debra Winger (2002)
I recently viewed "Searching for Debra Winger" on DVD, and thought it looked pretty interesting. But, having read the other posts, I have to agree that Rosanna Arquette "experienced" a very scattered project.
I also find it a little "woe is me" for a group of actresses to sit around a dinner table, drinking wine, smoking cigarettes, and lamenting how tough it is to be an actress/movie star in Hollywood. Particularly annoying was Melanie Griffith. I've never really cared for her, and seeing her, warts and all, my opinion hasn't really changed. Complete with swollen lips and her Antonio heart tattoo on her shoulder, she's as tacky as ever. Listening to her talk about how rough it is, while sitting in a mansion and going to bed with Banderas, makes it hard to feel to bad for her. I think the fact that they felt like talking to her at all should be a little encouraging to her. She and Kelly Lynch aren't in the same league as the other actresses, and honestly didn't add much to the discussion.
I thought Patricia Arquette was featured way too much. It's understandable, given Rosanna is filming, but, it seemed a little gratuitous to me. I mean, she never really said all that much, other than smiling, blushing, and looking away as her sister complimented her. I did enjoy listening to Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave. Alfre Woodard, Sharon Stone, and Selma Hayek gave intelligent response to what they were asked. Martha Plimpton has always struck me as an actress rather than a movie star, and given her take on many of the challenges she faces, I think she'd like that categorization. Holly Hunter had an interesting take on longevity, and, when they cornered Frances McDormand in a bathroom in France, she sort of agreed with what Holly said while some no name assistant nodded her head in agreement. Whoopi Goldberg was another high point interview.
The entire film builds until Arquette tracks down Debra Winger. I guess that's the concept that flawed the movie for me. It was my understanding that Winger didn't "walk away" as much as she was sort of shut out by Hollywood. Rumor has it that she was always hard to work with, battled a drug problem, and wasn't a favorite costar to many. She and Shirley McClaine never got along on the set of "Terms of Endearment"--to the point where there was an actual pushing match. She was tapped to star in "A League of Their Own," but immediately quit when Madonna was cast. I also heard that she was cast in a more recent project, but, was fired for her weird behavior. She had her own personal demons, I guess, and you could feel sorry for that, but, the documentary sort of made it seem as though she became disillusioned and bored with movies. I don't think they were being 100% honest.
But, even with all that, I thought the film would end after the Winger segment--but, went on for another 20 minutes or so. It just seemed to fill the screen with stars who asked more questions than they answered, and I walked away from it sort of puzzled as to the purpose. They jumped around topics (like lack of roles and motherhood) and never really stuck to one issue. The actresses were always quick to say that other actresses make it work--like Susan Sarandan, Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep, Sally Field--yet, these actresses aren't interviewed.
It was nice to see some actresses aspect on the business and the craft of movie making, but, all in all, it did drag and at times bored me.
Just got around to watching it...
Wished I hadn't bothered.
Missed Jodie Foster immediately, but, I have to tell you, I'm not surprised she backed out of the project, and am even more surprised that Julianne Moore agreed to do it.
Flawed from the get go.
Clarice Starling has gone down hill, and Lecter is back to put her on top again. This was just gory for gore's sake--man eating pigs and all. I didn't doubt for one second that Liotta's character was going to get it in the end. But, the way it happened was just too hokey to be believed. Cutting his head open, exposing his brain, and having him sit at the table while it's being prepared. I'm not usually so squeamish, but, I did turn away. Also wasn't surprising that once we found out how the Italian Investigator's ancestor had died, he'd be dangling out a window with his bowels hanging out in no time at all. Then, there's Lecter's former patient. The now rich beyond belief guy who Lecter earlier had convinced to preform self mutilation on his own face. Now, he's out to seek revenge. What took him so long? If he was mentioned in "Silence of the Lambs," I don't remember it. But, 10 years later, there he is. Why wouldn't Clarice have interviewed him in "Silence"? Then, his "nurse" dumps him in the pig pit as well, when Lecter is escaping with Clarice. I didn't get that. Maybe it I missed something crucial in the earlier half of the movie, but, to tell you the truth, by the time the scene came around, I really didn't care and was just glad it was winding down. Then, of course, there's the very ending scene where Lecter is on a plane and feeds Liotta's brains to the kid he's sitting next to. In the book, this could have been a very chilling read (having not read the book, I'm only speculating) but after the blood spurting gore fest I'd just sat through, I just found the whole thing gross.
Anthony Hopkins should have followed Jodie's lead and bailed. There was no tension in this film, not like "Silence." It was just was just a horror flick, to me.
I wouldn't recommend it.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Dear Lord, deliver us (CONTAINS SPOILERS)
I needed a Dramamine to get through the first 10 minutes. Words cannot effectively express how much I despised this film. If you looked up "over rated" in the dictionary, there would most definitely be a foot note to direct you to "Moulin Rouge."
**SPOILER ALERT** (not that the inception of this piece of garbage wasn't spoiling enough)
A musical? Depends on your definition, I guess. Oh, sure...there's music. All your favorite songs from the '80s and '90s mixed in with weird colors, different lyrics, sloppy editing and goofy camera angles--complete with Nicole Kidman (completely out of her league, I might add).
All the songs you've heard before, they just changed some of the lyrics around to make them fit whatever visual image they were striving for. Weird Al Yankovic has been doing this for ages, and I haven't heard him called a genius. No song or artist is safe: Nirvana, Madonna, Patti LaBelle, Sting--I must say, their use of "Roxanne" brought about a very audible and none to appreciative groan from the audience when I saw it.
In fact, that's all this was really--one big long music video. There's a love story that ends tragically, but, that's neither original nor a surprise (Nicole Kidman's character starts out bleeding shortly after we meet her, and doesn't stop 'til she's kicked the bucket). I guess I was meant to care, but, since it was an good indicator that this crap was winding down, I found myself feeling more delighted than anything else.
Kidman's voice has been computer enhanced out the wah-zoo, and it still sounds weak and airy. Ewan MacGregor doesn't have a bad voice, but, it's surrounded in mediocrity. John Leguizamo is there for comic relief as a dwarf, but it's as comically relieving as a nosy neighbor from some '70s sitcom that only lasted 1/2 a season. This movie had everything but a tap dancing zebra--and, I'm sure there's one of those hidden in a group shot somewhere.
Teenie boppers will love it because "EWAN'S SO CUTE!" They'll also be amazed over the fact that "NICOLE SANG AND DANCED THROUGH THE WHOLE THINGS--THEN DIED AT THE END. THAT'S REALLY HARD, YOU KNOW?" Seeing this movie and appreciating musicals is like reading reading the Cliff Notes to "To Kill a Mocking Bird" and loving the book.
Not a bad transition to the screen
I may be a little biased, because 12 years ago, I was in the stage version of "Chicago" and instantly fell in love with it. I wasn't very optimistic about Hollywood's ability to transfer it to the screen. "Chicago" on stage is very minimalistic--very suggestive set, constantly present ensemble, and dark/black costuming--similar to another minimalistic musical, "A Chorus Line," which was god-awful and butchered as a movie. I can honestly say that I was impressed that they were able to make it happen, and still pay homage to the stage version during the musical numbers.
Now, of course, there were notable differences. I was a little surprised that they omitted the song, "Class," as well as "Me and My Baby" and "I Am My Own Best Friend." I also wondered why on earth they chose to give the role of Mary Sunshine to a woman (Christine Baranski), since the fact that it's a man's role goes along with the theme of reality vs. perception. I guess if it had to go to an actress, Baranski was a good choice, being that she's a Broadway veteran.
Catherine Zeta-Jones flat out blew me away. I was never really a "fan" of hers, in fact, I never had any opinion on her at all. I knew that she had gotten her start on stage in London, and musicals are nothing new to her, but, had no idea what a hoofer she was. You could just see it in her eyes the entire time--how much she LOVED what she was doing and was enjoying the role of Velma to the hilt. It's so rare to have an actress both feel that way AND be able to transfer the feeling on film. There's something magical about watching a dancer--which Zeta-Jones definitely is. Seeing her dance and sing made me know she was in her glory, and I was thrilled she was rewarded with an Oscar--easily the most deserving recipient in recent history.
Richard Gere was about 10 years too old to be playing Billy Flynn, but his performance didn't bother me. I knew they would probably need a "Hollywood leading man" to carry the film, although, I would have loved to have seen Eric McCormack (of "Will and Grace" fame) do the role. He'd have turned more than a few heads, I can guarantee you. I'd have considered him before John Travolta--the first choice for the role.
Queen Latifa did well as Mama Morton. I honestly can't think of a soul that could have done the role better.
Renee Zellweger--though she needed to hit the catering truck a couple more times--impressed me as Roxie. When I say "impressed," I mean she's no Gwen Verdon or Ann Reinking (the original Roxies on Broadway), and she wouldn't have been my first thought for the role (call me crazy, and her acting may be debatable--bordering on non-existent, but physically, Madonna is the type), but she held her own. I'd have loved to have seen Megan Mullally (again, from "Will and Grace") as Roxie--but, again, I'm sure the fact that Zellweger would sell more ticket made her the obvious choice.
It's nice to see a musical make its way back to the screen without being a hodgepodge acid trip, like "Moulin Rouge!" Don't get me started on that piece of garbage. Now, if they can bring "Sweeney Todd" to the screen with either Tracey Ullman (yes, you read correctly) or Jane Horracks (of "Absolutely Fabulous" fame) as Mrs. Lovett opposite Jeremy Irons in the title role, I'll be ecstatic.
Eban and Charley (2000)
I must admit that I rented this movie on the premise that I thought it was an independent film. It may very well be independent, but it also is independent of talent in the writing, production value, and acting. I couldn't last more than probably 1/3 of the way through it before I shut it off and went on to my next DVD.
The subject matter was interesting, but, was lost on the production quality. Eban came across as creepy and a pedophile. He's a good moper--I'll give him that. Charley was devoid of emotion and basically played the "Lolita" character with all the aplomb of a third rate community theatre actor. The actors playing these roles were way out of their league.
Some plot questions to ponder: Upon seeing Charley for the first time in the empty coffee shop, Eban goes over to Charley's table and asks if he can sit there. When Charley says it's OK, he sits, but, says nothing...not even and introduction. How realistic is that? Why would Charley have a guitar if he had no clue how to play it? If Charley's father is such a hard ass, how would he ever find the nerve to bring Eban into his bedroom? Having never been to Eban's home prior, when Charley is kicked out--albeit briefly--how did he know where to run? Better yet, which window to go to? And then, after they take a bike ride, go BACK to his house he had just been kicked out of, and return to the bedroom with Eban?
I'm sure there are other "plot holes" in this drivel, but, my sanity couldn't allow me to hang out to find them. To call this entire movie hack film making would be an insult to hack film makers everywhere. It was like bad porn with no porn. I happen to be gay, but, refuse to enjoy something simply because its subject matter contains characters that also happen to be gay. If you want to see a great movie you may not have heard of with gay subject matter, might I suggest "White Lilies."
Lost in Translation (2003)
Lost on me
I just rented "Lost in Translation" last evening and watched it with my other half, who promptly fell asleep less than 30 minutes into it. Ok, this shouldn't be insulting--it's a normal occurance when we rent movies after cooking at home and staying in for the evening--but, since I saw the entire thing, it was an omen in retrospect.
I have to agree with some of the user comments I've read thus far--this is the type of film you almost feel obligated to "get" lest you sacrifice your intellect in mixed company. But, if I have to work that hard to get something, I have to wonder if it was worth getting to begin with.
I'm also troubled by the fact that I don't want to reveal any spoilers, yet don't know what would classify as one given there isn't much to report. I get the fact that they're bored. I get the fact that they can't sleep. I get the fact that they find one another in a hotel that they are staying in, that (given that they're in a foreign country like Japan) they should have tons to say to one another because they share a common language, but, they chose instead to say very little to one another--communicating in this "higher way" of comfortable silence and understated bonding. Is that what I'm supposed to get? Yeah...I think that's about it really. People have been calling this a "love story," but, I didn't get that. I know I've been in a foreign country, met fellow Americans or English speaking travellers, bonded with them, hung out with them, promised to keep in touch when leaving, and have never heard from them since--with equal non-effort on my part. That's kind of what I thought it was.
I guess I wouldn't worry too much if you're one of those viewers who feels stupid for not walking away from this film changed or emotionally enlightened. Those who go into this film with that in mind surely will, or will watch it a thousand times until they do. Those, like me, who just wanted to see Bill Murray--who I love--in a role that was nominated for an Oscar after years of good work got what they were after, too. I may not "get" that either, but, I tried. When my other half woke up five minutes after I'd taken the DVD out, he immediately said, "Ahhh...I missed it." To which, I replied, "No, honey...you didn't."
It's very interesting
I must admit I HATE having to travel when it comes to flying. 99% of that hatred comes from having to deal with crowds, close connections, sitting at gates, sitting on runways, losing baggage, weather delays, crying babies, etc., etc., etc...but, this new special on A&E has really opened my eyes to the kind of crap people who work at the airline have to put up with.
Now, maybe it's just Southwest Airlines, or maybe it's just the fact that they knew that they were being filmed, but, it seems that the staff really cares and goes out of their way to be accommodating.
Whether it be helping clean up a bathroom accident for a man with Alzheimer's, to getting clean clothes for a man who reeks, to having to deal with people who are going to sue over a lost bag that's worth tons of money, only to have it reappear as a duffle bag that you'd carry to the gym--I think I'd quit on the spot, but, somehow they carry on. My only complaint is that it isn't the normal hour long series that A&E normally runs, but two back to back half hour installments are OK.
I just saw the A&E Biography on Dr. Seuss, and I cannot for the life of me think for one second that he would be happy with his exploitation. His widow (how the hell she can sleep at night, I'll never know) had the audacity to say, "if I don't do this, how will they know?" Oh, give me a break. They'll know, sweetheart, because his work is priceless. He did not want to be a Christmas ornament that someone wearing a hat shoves into a paper bag after you upgrade your Whopper. He did not want to have his work accompanied with fart jokes and overacting complete with a Paris Hilton cameo. "The Cat in the Hat" is an abomination, just like the film adaptation of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" was. Is there nothing sacred? What's next? Film adaptations of the works of Shel Silverstein? Please, God, NO!!
The Michael Essany Show (2003)
Is it just me
Is it just me, or does this show escape me. We have this nerd who shoots a talk show (like those are needed nowadays) from his home in Valparaiso and he gets B-List celebrities to spotlight. He's not funny, he's not engaging, and by no means is he a threat to anyone in his air time. His horse teeth, to be frank, frighten me--and I don't understand why he's living at home at his age. We see him stress over who he's interviewing, serve them some sodas and chips (how cute) when they arrive at his home, have his parents take a picture (can we say prom?), sit through an uncomfortable five minute interview, and then, see him pop out the "show tape", shelve it, and go to bed...perhaps anesthesia is no longer necessary...pop this show in and take out my liver with a melon-baller. Bottom line: executive producer, Leeza Gibbons must have little to occupy her time and E! must have a half hour to fill before we see Anna Nicole devour an entire four course meal before she "entertains" her toothless cousin from the sticks. In other words, drink a glass or red wine if you just can't get to sleep.