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De rouille et d'os (2012)
There Is Something About Marion
What a remarkable performance! Marion Cotillard as an actress, as an artist goes as far here as very few actresses have gone before - Total and utter truth no matter how wrenching - Maria Falconetti in The Passion Of Joan Of Arc, Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice, Anna Magnani in Bellissima and very few others, now, for me, Marion Cotillard in Rust And Bone belongs right up there among the sublime. Here I should be commenting on the film and my comment is all about her because Rust And Bone is her, Marion Cotillard. Her co-star, totally new to me, Matthias Schoenaerts, is superb as the handsome, unwitting agent provocateur. Not to be missed.
Bertolucci's favorite Hitchcock
To find out that Bernardo Bertolucci, the director of Last Tango In Paris, loves Marnie makes a lot of sense, to me anyway. If you think about it, Last Tango In Paris could have been a Hitchcock movie. An American in Paris meets a young girl, they have sex without knowing anything about each other and ends up in murder. Marnie is truly perverse and Sean Connery's obsession for Tippi Hedren is infinitely more perverse than whatever poor Tippi Hedren suffers from. He is turned on by her rejection. The kiss during the gelid honeymoon stays inches away from necrophilia. right?. The script is just delicious. Sean Connery goes for the troublesome center of his character, yes he does, whether consciously or unconsciously. Tippi Hedren is terrific here and with all the things we know now about the making of the movie her performance has acquired some extra something. Diane Baker as the scorned sister in law is a delight. So here we are, talking about a movie made 53 years ago. Time does extraordinary things.
Jane and Banche in the real world.
Why was I thinking that it couldn't work? Maybe because it never does. But "Bette and Joan" present us with that always welcome exception. The introduction of this two icons has sharpness and shine. Both walking a very tight rope. Joan with desperation, Bette with defiance. It is a terrific treat to see Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon going for the real centers rather than the caricature. Alfred Molina is priceless as Robert Aldrich and Stanley Tucci reinvents Jack Warner to a delightful perfection. The late entrance of Joan/Jessica at the theater where Bette/Susan is playing in The Night Of The Iguana is one of my favorite film moments of the young 2017 season. Now, needles to say, I can't wait for the next chapter.
La La Land (2016)
For The Love Of Movies
Damien Chazelle is a young director who loves and knows movies, from Federico Fellini to Jacques Demy. Hallellujah! Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone go back to inspire us forward. What's more surprising than anything else is the feel of amateurishness in the dancing in the singing. So refreshing not to have a sleek but empty experience. Damian Chazelle' Whiplash was a brilliant preview of forthcoming attractions. I would love to see a thriller directed by Chazelle, something like Shadow Of A Doubt or even a glossy damsel in distress story like Midnight Lace. That's what happens when we discover a new and startling talent. You want to see him do everything. I have a feeling this young artist will.
Three One Everything
When a film comes out and you know next to nothing about it with a director you don't know and a cast of mostly unknowns and it blows you away like it did me. Then I know I'm confronted by something unique. In fact it was director/writer Martin Donovan who wrote about Moonlight, urging all his actors to run and see it. Thank you sir. The faces of those three young men who are just one did something to my brain and to my heart. The best group of actors I've seen in one single film in a long, long time. The big surprise is that we knew it all along. It's all about love and what it means to be a man. Thank you Barry Jenkisns A revolutionary film made of truth and beauty.
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
Undercooked but tasty
The Coen Brothers are heroes of mine. They travel from universe to universe remaining true to themselves. Hail, Caesar should have been , I thought, a familiar universe for them but they seem lost. A journey without a clear destination. There are, of course, a few pleasures along the road. The scene between Alden Ehrenreich and Ralph Finnes is a gem. Alden Ehrenreich is a breath of fresh air with vintage breezes that are exciting, compelling and totally disarming. The tap dance routine with Channing Tatum is also a lot of fun even if I can't quite get Channing Tatum. Great body and he can dance but he seems to be somewhere else. Impossible to connect on the screen with him. I hear he gets millions of dollars per movie so maybe it's just me. The opposite of George Clooney who launches himself body and soul to every moment he has on the screen. I will shut up now and wait for the next Coen Brothers movie.
Death Becomes Her (1992)
"Death Becomes Her" is over 20 years old but I bet it took a potion to remain splendorous for ever. Everything ages, even special effects but the elegance and wit of most of the dialog remains fresh and brisk. "I wasn't the sort of girl who could say the word sexual without blushing" tells Goldie to poor, emasculated Bruce - What happens to Bruce's face is just brilliant. He can't believe it. He is excited and terrified at the same time. A new DVD blue ray edition is overdue, with lots of extra features, please. Why haven't we seen more work like this? I'm a great fan of Martin Donovan and David Koepp, the writers, and this was their second and last collaboration. Koepp went on to write Jurassic Park and Mission Impossible and directed the delightful Ghost Town and Premiun Rush. Martin Donovan does extraordinary work with actors at Playhouse West and the Director's Playhouse of Los Angeles. I sat at three of his sessions and I left inspired and breathless. I asked him about "Death Becomes Her" and our exchange will be posted in his Message Boards here on IMDb. It made me want to see the film again, immediately.
The Tillman Story (2010)
Lies My Government Told Me
How appalling and at the same time, how inspiring. Thank God for the Tillman's, even if God doesn't come in into their equation, their life is a model of integrity. Pat Tillman married his high school sweetheart. She was her first and only girlfriend. Always loyal to her as he was loyal to us, to his country, to his believes. Next to him, the government appears as a sleazy bunch, corroding our standards. Films like this make sure we keep our eyes open. The sobbing in the movie theater where I saw the film made me feel very American because we now know and knowledge is power. We won't let this horrors happen again. We can'TV allow it. The world is looking at us.
Eat Pray Love (2010)
The Freudian Pizza
Two moments have stayed with me, one in particular: Javier Bardem crying as he says goodbye to his 19 year old son. The moment provokes a reaction on Julia Roberts's character that makes her totally human. The moment comes on the last third of the film so I thought it was a bit too late to start my relationship with her. The other moment happens at the beginning after she decides to walk away from her marriage and realizes she has broken her husband's heart. Terrific Billy Crudup fighting back tears as the elevator door closes. I love Julia Roberts but I can't quite buy her "philosophical face" 42 years of age in the new millennium is far too young for that kind of crisis, specially when the crisis is provoked by something missing in her. So, okay, a journey of discovery, but then...? The discovery is that she knew it all along. What next. I must say the guys in the movie get the prize, third price really. The first price goes to the location, second price to the food - goodness, the food! - and third to the guys. Bardem fantastic, Richard Jenkins superb - Billy Crudup surprisingly real, James Franco also great and Luca Argentero another plus.
Oh Bruno, Bruno...
I laughed until it ached. I was exhausted after the 80 odd minutes were over but didn't stay with me the way that Borat did. Borat was unquestionably fresher - if you can call it that - the horrible surprise was a one off situation. Bruno is a priceless creation but somehow the pranks are already part of the audience's expectation. A talking penis or Ron Paul trapped in a sex film are things we're not about to see anywhere else anytime soon and that's were the power of this new Sacha Baron Cohen shocking, hilarious opus resides. He is an irresistible, shameless, fearless genius. He knows exactly where the corpses are buried and he digs them up in the most unexpected way. The charity girls, the army guys, Paula Abdul sitting on a Mexican worker. Awful and very funny, very funny indeed.