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Solitary Man (2009)
Don't SeeThis Movie With Your Woman (If You're a Guy)
I liked everything about Solitary Man except the main point of the story, to wit, men are bad and women are good. Men are stupid. Women are wise. Men are mean. Women are not. Or,perhaps, men are bad except for a few who may be good but not really very attractive.
It's too bad such an excellent cast was wasted on this script. Solitary Man reminds me of the Dutch film Antonia's Line. It's another well crafted, well cast, well acted, will shot, well edited film with a silly script. Again we see wonderful women and girls who live in a world where most of the men are stupid, violent and crass. The few men who don't fit that description are rather dull and compliant worshipers of the aforementioned women. Of course the sons of these women are good because unlike the majority of the members of their gender they have been reared in a matriarchy. Solitary Man and Antonia's Line have nothing in common except for their intellectual underpinnings.
Man on Fire (1987)
Man on Fire is more that what meets the eye
I enjoyed this film when it first came out and even more when I had a chance to see it again this weekend. Though billed and treated by most as an action/thriller/revenge film it's much more than that. The aspect that really grabbed me was the development of the relationship of Scott Glenn's Chris Creasy and Jade Malle's Samantha. The gradual development of the Creasy character from an isolated and emotionally shut down loner first into a friend and finally into a surrogate father and mentor to Samantha is touching and believable. Touching and believable as well is Samantha's simultaneous evolution from a lonely if charming rich kid into Creasy's surrogate daughter and protégé. I just wish Ms. Malle, who exhibited such a strong screen presence in this film had gone on to make more films than the one other movie and one TV show credited to her on the IMDb site.
Nick Chinlund got my attention years ago when he played Donnie Pfaster in two episodes of the X-Files. Evil seemed to ooze from every pore of the Pfaster character and it made for perhaps the most memorable character to come out of that long-running series. His tempered portrayal in Sinner of the conflicted Father Romano is very subtle and artful. And then there's Georgina Cates. Wow. This was my first exposure to this powerful actor and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her work! There were other just-right performances, too, including those by Tom Rogers as Officer Thomas and Michael E. Rodgers as the bad priest. And, last but not least, Brad Dourif doing Brad Douirif which is always O.K. with me.
Was Mel a Catholic Priest in Signs?
Mel Gibson's character is a fallen away widower clergyman who is constantly addressed as "Father". One interpretation -- That the character is indeed Catholic and the story takes place in an alternate reality where Catholic clergy are allowed to marry and have families. This might be more of a stretch if Mr. Gibson hadn't made his pre-Vatican II - style Catholicism such a part of his public image.
In this alternate world which has gotten so far off track spiritually (by letting Catholic priests marry, for example, and presumably other equally horrible things), Mel's priest character is punished by an angry deity with the the gruesome death of his wife and the rest of us by means of a terrible human-harvesting raid by malevolent demon-like beings straight out of Hell, er, I mean, the Galaxy.