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Movie Madness (1982)
Lampooning Movie Madness
This is National Lampoon; it's what they do.
Off-beat comical cynicism - a satirical attack - which probably doesn't appeal to most, so it's no surprise that so many people think so poorly of it. It's not meant for most people.
Dated? Has it "aged well"? I think it has not, so this presents another stumbling block in the path of the viewer.
I'm not a follower of National Lampoon - I don't really expect anything great coming from them, but we shouldn't completely dismiss the juvenile mind's penchant for poking fun at the world around it.
In three skits - NL pokes fun at three movie genres:
#1 - "Growing Yourself" A silly, impulse driven, narcissism - a study in self-help extravagance.
#2 - "Success Wanters" - For all those movies about the protagonist - clawing their way to the top in a dog-eat-dog - shark-tank world.
#3 - "Municipalians" - Our brave blue clad centurions; cop movies - in particular, the partnered cops - one old and wise and the rookie.
National Lampoon looks at these three tired; tried and true clichés and pokes fun at them - lampoons them without mercy (cause that's what NL does).
I only gave it a 5 star rating, because, well ... as cinema goes - it's not very good, but for those rare few who enjoy lampooning the status quo, I encourage you to give it a try.
I watched it on commercial TV; edited. I let it play in the background while I did other things (chores, internet surfing, etc). And, from time to time, my attention was drawn to some very clever dialogue and very fun character performances (actually well acted).
If I had the time and expertise, I'd be tempted to edit the movie down to the funniest scenes - might just be a very fun (though short) and entertaining film (though a lot of the gags benefit from the lengthy setups).
Like most comedy - some scenes work and some don't, but some of the gags were "laugh out loud" - VERY funny. And, for me they were worth the price of admission (which was virtually free and took the tiniest bit of my time).
Little Dorrit (1987)
Sadly, I don't think anyone under the age of 40 will have the patience - or interest - to view this work of art.
I just watched this film on the "This TV" channel; curious title, but when I saw it was based on a work by Charles Dickens I decided it was definitively worth a try.
Dickens presents us with timeless lessons (very relevant to our present lives) in this film about the human condition - a tale about hard work, perseverance, humility, greed, hate, compassion, love (unrequited and rediscovered), devotion and so much more.
The film unfolded clumsily and I nearly dismissed it; so glad I didn't.
A tapestry unfolds of increasing richness and complexity. Dickens presents us with brilliant dialogue and fascinating characters.
There were empty and silent moments - almost unbearably empty . . . that shouted "LOOK & LISTEN!" - see and hear with your heart.
Emptiness bears down upon the viewer; no attempt to shelter us from those "empty" moments with overbearing background music. Nor are there attempts to shorten our discomfort - in fear of our short attention spans.
Now-a days - only a poorly funded "indie" film would dare to risk such a slowly unfolding tale; a quiet tale of a plain, delicate flower - born in the gutter; surviving via some unseen strength and resilience; humbly persevering and outshining all around her.
It is easy (too easy?) to find fault; tear apart a beautiful work such as this - and many do. But, I celebrate this masterpiece which offers us so very much.
There is treasure in Little Dorrit - for all times - for those willing to discover it.
Thank you Charles Dickens - for all your masterful works; the golden threads that unite us all.
The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967)
A Courageous Woman's Endless Search for the Man of Her Dreams
I watched this on ThisTV and hope someday to watch it unbroken, but here are some thoughts:
The male lead is a boorish, self-absorbed jerk; cynically rejecting the status quo. But, I suppose he might be considered the "protagonist" - though more of an observer - our eyes and ears in this quest for "the sailor".
Vanessa Redgrave was mostly wonderful and at times beautiful to look at as well.
I thought her character seemed so heroic (and the real protagonist). Maybe I've misjudged her, but I thought her quest for that perfect lover - the love she lost (imaginary or real?) - was a heroic quest.
And, what a brave (even pioneering) movie - a wealthy widow sailing the Mediterranean into exotic ports with her burly handsome crew. She, a sensualist, sleeping with any man she fancied and then setting sail (a twist on the old merchant sailor's practice of "leaving a man in every port" - nearly). Her crew joked about her sexual exploits behind her back and speculated as to whether her "Sailor from Gibraltar" really even existed (or just an excuse to go "cruising" for men).
At its foundation, the film's outlook seems Existential Nihilism - life has no purpose and, is there even such a "thing" as love?
Is that all there is - just to exist and then die? Shall we give in to our hedonist desires - and just go on from one day to the next - on an endless cruise? Maybe love is all there is - and "mystery".
Was there a Sailor? Did she really once know the greatest love? Will she search for him forever, sailing from port to port? Will there finally be someone to join her in her search and shelter her from the heckling world - as it closes in around her - to love her as she is?
This film, though flawed and uneven in spots - is IMO a gem. There are so many precious (I think) moments, like when she goes on safari into the African bush (searching for her sailor - in the company of cannibals) and stands eye-to-eye with a beautiful statuesque African woman - peering into her eyes - trying to discern if she has been with her man (and would she give him up?).
I'm looking forward to watching this film again.
And: I don't say this very often, and with all due respect to this work of art - I would really, really like to see this movie remade! Please!
The Entrance (2006)
No Spoon Feeding Here
If you are looking for a no-brainer, slasher, nudity laden horror flick - don't waste your time on this one.
After seeing some of the comments, I didn't expect too much - but was glad I gave it a chance.
Excellent performance by Michael Eklund as the drug dealer (look him up - this guy has no problem finding gigs); fantastic range in his performance.
The cinema-photography was excellent! Good sound track. All around good production values. Good cast and acting.
I loved the mystery of it; don't expect the "expected". Very good script; nicely layered; loved the way elements unfolded. Just when I kind of thought I knew where things were going, delicious little "twisted" twists were added. I liked that I was required to pay attention, to be patient and observant. Yes, the uneasy pacing - kept me off balance; added to the tension. And, I even experienced a couple startlingly scary moments; doesn't happen much for me anymore; such a treat.
I even liked the ending - unsettling as it was.
Well worth a coffee shop chat after viewing this film - so much going on; so much left to the imagination.