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The Dog (2013)
I had never heard about John Wojtowicz but thanks to the movie The Dog, I know all about this icon. The documentary has several overlapping themes: the early days of the gay movement, how John became an icon of a robin hood of sorts, and how he was a man full of love. John was his own man and even the bank robbery he was involved in did not define him. A 1975 Oscar winning movie was based on his legendary bank robber staring Al Pacino called Dog Day in Afternoon. He was a convicted bank robber but his reason was noble. He was for robbing the bank in order to raise the money needed to fund his lover's sex change operation. John admits in the movie that he is over sexed, but his commentary captures a period where free love and Vietnam War clashed. America was in an identity crisis between the conservative g-men outlook and the free love and eventual disco 70s. It is honorable that John put the interest of his love Ernest Aron (later known as Elizabeth Debbie Eden) ahead of himself and just wanted her to be happy. John risk his life and even though it turned out to be a failed robbery, eventually the notoriety helped fund the operation. John, known as "the Dog", comes across sincere and as a noble character who always tried to do the right thing and how his big heart got in the way. In the end, the Dog makes no apologies for being who he is and he sums it best in his final thoughts, "Live everyday as if it's your last and whoever doesn't like it can go fcuk themselves and a rubber duck." Don't miss a chance to get the story behind the man that inspired Al Pacino's legendary role in the Oscar Nominated Dog Day Afternoon. The Dog is Directed by Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren and set to be release in NY and LA on August 8, 2014.
Begin Again (2013)
Begin Again is a sweet movie about the fragility of love. How it can be there one moment and gone the next. Gretta (Keira Knightley) and Dave (Adam Levine) were bound together with the struggle to make it in the music world and mutual infatuation. Suddenly Dave makes it and moves on while leaving Gretta behind. In comes in Dan (Mark Ruffalo) and sees potential in her music. Dan has his own love troubles and dealing with a stagnant career as a music executive. Dan is the ultimate "Mr. Nice Guy". Lots of loving glances and creative innocence is experienced on the big screen and this tale is about self discovery and the complexity of dealing with change. Regardless of what life throws at you, you got to believe in your dreams and move forward because in the end it all works out. Overall it is a feel good movie of the normal lives of regular folks who are struggling to make it.
Sex Tape (2014)
Sex MP4 File
Sex Tape has lots of sex in it. But once you get past that you realize that it is really about trying to break from the daily routine. The best scene is when the young daughter Nell (Giselle Eisenberg) makes the observation as she is on her way to school that is "this what life is about?" You get up do your stuff, sleep and get up and do it over again. The dad, Jay (Jason Segal) tries to share that it is not true. The premise of the story is that Annie (Carmen Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segel) have lost their mojo. They simply are not having sex. In order to spice things up, Annie recommends to Jay that they film themselves doing the dirty. Well, it did spice things up but the video was spread among friends. The stigma of a sex tape has lost it's scarlet letter appeal and in today's world seems to help, aka Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton to name a few. But in the magic of Hollywood, Annie and Jay fight and scramble to discover all the lost copies. Sex Tape is tamer than the trailer leads us to believe but its real message is keeping the fire hot in a marriage is hard but there is a lot more to a good marriage than hot sex.
Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972)
One movie that had been on my list to watch was Last Tango in Paris. It was heavily referenced in the documentary Seduced and Abandoned where Bernado Bertolucci shares how this movie captured a side of Marlon Brando and he refused to talk to him for 7 years after that. The movie is about an American played by Marlon Brando who finds himself in Paris after the death of his wife. He seeks comfort in a French woman Jeanne (Maria Schneider). They begin a passionate affair that pushes the limits of lust and sexual ecstasy. At the time of the release this movie was given a rating of X, but seems pretty tamed in today's world. The story came from a dream that Bertolucci had about having an anonymous sexual encounter with a woman he did not know or never would know. Pretty much every man's dream, pleasurable erotic, guiltless sex. It blends the magic of the French sensuality with the aggressive American attitude. A masterful film and a classic that needs to be seen by all movie buffs.
Seduced and Abandoned (2013)
Part time lover
The Cannes Film Festival is a yearly celebration of films, from the blockbusters to the lesser known. However in the back drop of this glamour is the back room deals that make movies come to life. Alec Baldwin and director James Toback take you behind the scenes of this circus as they discuss the process and seek funding for their own project. Along the way they cross paths with players of the industry and get the nuts and bolts of what makes the movie business tick. Cannes is a glamorous film festival but it also is a hot bed of action and the nitty gritty of the unglamorous side of movie making. Movie making business is a challenge, as repeated in the film Orsen Welles shared that "I look back on my life and it's 95% running around trying to raise money to make movies and 5% actually making them. It's no way to live".
Lost Children Found
Between the 1930s and 1970s there was period of turmoil in Argentina known as the dirty war. With the overthrow of the democratic government, the regime in power went after any dissident voices and liberal activist. People in Argentina simply disappeared and some were drugged and thrown off airplanes. Babies were born to the captors and reassigned to other families. This began a group known as the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo where the grandmothers were come searching for their love ones. Dr. C.A. Tuggle had traveled to Argentina and researched the "dirty war." What he found was there was an underline story that needed to be told. With help with his family and colleagues they took on the project of documenting this issue. It resulted in the documentary "Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo" and it was screened at the Carter Center in Atlanta. President Carter noted that when he got to office he became aware of the human right violations in Argentina. Previous administrations had simply looked the other way and were in bed with the banana growers and business. Carter held a firm line of a policy of Human Rights. He believed that "America did not invent human rights, but human rights invented America." His policy was to be carried out by all his diplomatic representatives. Carter noted that today there is only one dictator in the Western Hemisphere (Fidel Castro) and that we must push forward the issue of Human Rights. Back in the 70s the concern was communism, and no matter what you did, if you were communist you were enemy number one. Today communism has become interchanged with terrorism and when we define terrorist, we take a hard line against them. Anyone that is against them is our friend, regardless of what they may do in their own country. The movie points out some examples of the lost babies that were reunited with their biological families and the challenge to move forward. Tex Harris who was a political officer at the time commended Carter that he was the "coach of the team" and his efforts to place human rights at the center of the US foreign policy at the height of the cold war was a tough stance but today much appreciated.
When bad things happen to good people
Kids that are too much to handle are often referred to as hellions. The movie by the same name follows the Wilson family where the father is struggling single dad trying to raise his rambunctious two boys. The boys seem to get into all type of troubles and the opening scene shows how they seem to be in the wrong crowd. This movie does a good job of showing how sometimes bad things happen to good people. How a few bad decisions can put you in spiral that can put your life out of control. It also showcases the difficulty of a middle class family in making it. A small release film but a powerful story of those kids that always seem to be on the wrong place all the time. I enjoyed the movie and Juliet Lewis creates a believable role in the caring aunt. Dr Wilson Trivino
I Origins (2014)
The movie has some varied views of science versus faith. A doctor is researching the evolution of the eye to prove that there were steps to the creation and the eye is not a window to the soul. Along the way he becomes infatuated with a distinct pair and falls for this French maiden. Tragedy strikes and years later he still is in pursuit of that one that got away. The movie is fast pace and is passion filled, how sometimes science can't explain everything away and create the perfect connection. This movie is sure to make think and wonder how we are all different but can we transcend time and space and have our spirits survive. A marvelous caring and provocative film that will make you think the next time you see a beautiful set of eyes. I Origins is quite a trip and adventure that will take you around the world and wonder how you would handle the one that got away. Dr. Wilson Trivino
School Dance (2014)
Nick Cannon directs School Dance, a coming of age comedy. In it Jason is enamored with Anastacia and would do anything to stand out and be noticed in her world. This movie has some funny parts but feels like it is a mix of bits with a bunch of every stereotype imaginable. A cameo by many well known stars, even the current "it" comedy guy Kevin Hart. Mike Epps plays a funny quirky horny principle Rogers and George Lopez is the domineering Latino dad. A peek to the simpler times of high school, when all guys wanted to do was hook up and girls wanted to feel special. The crescendo of the movie is the one night of true debauchery, the school dance. Seems like a blend of other past greats like House Party and Friday. Makes you glad you are no longer a teenager and just be grown and sexy. Take a trip back to high school and watch School Dance. I am sure you will at least get a few laughs out of this movie.
Only the Lonely (1991)
It has been twenty years since we lost John Candy, the actor and comedian. In one of his less know roles as Danny Muldoon in Only the Lonely, Candy plays a cop who discovers love in an unassuming funeral home make up artist in Theresa Luna (Ally Sheedy). He wins her heart and all is well until they run into the obstacle of Danny's domineering Irish mother Rose Muldoon (Mauren O'Hara). Everyone warms him to the routine of marriage and his best friend played by Jim Belushi tries to sway him away. All the while Nick Acropolis (Anthony Quinn) is pining for Rose's heart as the nosy next door Greek neighbor. A beautiful story with a message of the challenges of love and living happily ever after. I watched it late night on HBO and was marveled on such a good story. John Candy was such a versatile artist. RIP.