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No-one told me it costs money to get old...
Writers Kathy Speer and Terry Grossman (supervised by Susan Harris) wrote an excellent episode. Although a sitcom, The Golden Girls were a series not being afraid of bringing social injustices to the attention of the public -as this episode proves. We start off light as the girls buy -what turns out to be- a winning lottery ticket, it gets misplaced though and the search for it is funny and well written. And then we get to the better part -the girls end up in a homeless shelter and decide to stay the night. The dialogues they have with the guests are eye-openers. Sometimes life is cruel -and without any warning there you are, in a shelter, homeless. As a friend of Sophia says: no-one told me it costs money to get old... And so she had to leave her retirement home -a nice punishment for getting a senior citizen.
When 'Brother, can you spare a dime?' is sung as the girls look for their ticket, it is heartbreaking. In the end what else can they do but only the right thing?
I'm touched every time I watch it. Excellent writing, excellent acting, excellent directing (Terry Hughes) and as a topic still very ongoing, even 25 years after taping.
Abismo de pasión (2012)
I really don't know where to start this review. Honestly, I don't. I find that this 'telenovela' has effortlessly reached a new depth of stupidity. From the writing of the script to acting/directing, it amazes me how low the level of the series is. Let's start with the acting, shall we? Or better: lack of. Most actors don't have a clue what they have to do, so they overcompensate in big gestures and rolling eyes; Rene Casados' acting as a priest (honestly, who did the casting?) is embarrassing to watch and he is wearing so much make-up that he could work in the circus as a clown. A very brown clown. Sabine Moussier is, well, Sabine Moussier. Over the top. With everything. Pleasant exception is Mark Thatcher (what's in a name?) whose acting is nice to watch although even he can't escape the lack of direction from both directors. Directors Sergio & Claudio seem to be interested in making pretty pictures and find the cast an annoying interruption of their shots.
The costume designers must have had a ball: all muscular guys wear shirts that are two sizes too small and unbuttoned down to their navel, and to complement the ensemble they're wearing tight trousers. Too tight. For the ladies: tight blouses with mega cleavage, short skirts/tight trousers.
For the dialogues... I've never heard dialogues switch from completely normal to the level of a maximum security mental institution so fast. Within a few words, there are arguments and accusations, there is screaming and confrontation. Example? Well, if you insist:
She: (in normal tone of voice) Where have you been?
He: (normal too) Oh, just been for a walk.
She: (starts normal) At this hour? (voice is getting hysterical) Where did you go WHERE, WHERE?! (screaming) YOU WERE SEEING HER, WEREN'T YOU?
HE: No, I didn't
SHE: (normal voice again) Oh, I thought you did.
Well, why do I watch it, you may wonder? That's because my host where I have dinner every evening (I work momentarily in Kenya) is watching this before the evening news. That's why.
I do love this episode. It's mostly about Blanche ('The Human Mattress', as she was once lovingly given that nickname by Mrs. Petrillo herself) as her believed-dead husband suddenly reappears.
At the end of this episode, Blanche, surrounded by her dearest friends, shares what happened to her. I think that it is very touching, very well written and an excellent performance by Ms. McClanahan.
In general I think Ms. McClanahan was the most versatile actress of the group - no offence to the other ladies! But I think she was the one who switched the best from emotion to emotion of her character.
To keep everything in balance, there's a lot to laugh and enjoy as we follow Dorothy being pursued by no less than two(!) gentlemen.
Timeless quality, thanks to good writing and acting.
El Dorado (2010)
Very violent, not very adventurous
With all the adventure films that have been made it's hard to be original. One could opt for strong story lines, great acting or humour. El Dorado has opted for violence. And a lot of it. The story is quite simple (finding gold) and the way to do that is apparently with the help of guns. And riffles. And more guns. And shoot anybody who gets in the way.
The acting and directing I find very, very sloppy. I do like Shane West but in this film I think he's terrible. In one scene he and his friends are strolling towards a village. Then a dialogue starts and Shane's character (Jack) starts panting. Why? To make him more butch? Someone must have told him it looks manly. No, it doesn't. It sounds like Jack has asthma. And Jack makes a habit of panting his way through his scenes. There's a scene in a library and the hero and heroine are looking at some papers that are over 400 years old. Normally one would handle these documents with care and respect whilst wearing gloves. Nope, not here. Like they hold yesterday's newspaper: opening and folding and throwing it about. Most peculiar.
There are some special effects, very clever done yet totally misappropriate in this film. Kids will love it, I think. But then again, total body count is over a 100 (give or take a few) so you might think twice before you let your little ones see this picture.
O well, it was a rather cold and rainy summer evening when it was aired in The Netherlands. Ideal circumstances for this film.
ER: Time of Death (2004)
Liotta's finest hour.
Ray Liotta brilliantly performs the alcoholic being treated in the ER. Of course behind each alcoholic is a story. Life, actually. Liotta makes it his story from a drunk nobody likes (or worse: loves) to a guy who's life slipped trough his fingers and as we get to know the background, we can relate to.
Liotta's acting is superb and I was glued to the screen. His transformations are beautiful and he can play the part with finesse and believability. Very rightfully he won an Emmy for his performance. Bravo and bravo!
Director Christopher Chulack directed this episode and what a talented and passionate guy he is. Stunning dying-scenes of Charlie in a place that exists in his memory/soul/heart layered with voices from the ER. Bravo too.
Of course Liotta deserves a major guest role in such a good series and not to have waltz in for the part of a taxi driver who broke his toe whilst hitting the brakes to hard (just an example). I'm very pleased that was chosen for a character who was on screen for the whole episode. For the first time I know off, all the regulars stepped down to support a guest role. So whoever had this idea: thank you very, very much!
ER is broadcast on Dutch National TV where commercials are not allowed in the middle of any series or films so I could watch it in peace and without being interrupted. Very, very good.
The Majestic (2001)
Let's start off with those we never see on screen yet their work we see all the time. A nomination for Best Period Makeup (Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards) went to Bill Corso, Douglas Noe and Judy Mathai. Yet David Tattersall (cinematography), Karyn Wagner (Costume Design) and all those others who worked with passion on this movie deserved an Academy Award Nomination. This movie looks immaculate! Beautiful lighting and very tasteful set design. So: bravo to the tech crew!
Unfortunately director Frank Darabont is not as good in directing as he is in adapting screenplays. He makes beautiful shots -and that's about it. The movie never touches me -and it should as the story has the potential of a good drama.
And what is it with the music? Composer Mark Isham thought perhaps he was writing an opera? There's a score under every scene! Most annoying indeed. The second an emotional scene starts, the violins start to play -as Darabont is afraid we don't understand what it's all about, so 'we' need music to make us feel what he should be doing in the first place: directing . In all other scenes, the trumpets and full orchestra make overtime. Horrible.
Right. Let's go to the cast: Lauri Holden is a great actress and her talent (and patience) saved her in this movie. Very subtle and aware of the emotions of the scenes she portraits her role very well indeed. As always it's a joy to watch Martin Landau perform. He's aging very gracefully indeed and that same spirit is in his performance.
I think Jim Carrey can't act. Period. A matter of taste, I know. I find it's all an outside-performance, he never ever shows any depth of character at all. Yet the movie looked so beautiful, I kept watching.
Who's taking the challenge and will make a remake of this one?
Brilliant acting in brilliant play.
Put a dozen or so of the finest actors round a dining table and let them perform the words so beautiful written by Loring Mandel, and you have a brilliant, spectacular film.
Director Frank Pierson -with eye to detail and respect for the script- inspired the cast into an ensemble as that is extra needed to make the limited set a vibrant and believable place.
Kenneth Branagh made his character General Heydrich absolutely charming and believable. Yet Branagh could turn him into a cold, heartless man when opposed to or contradicted. A dangerous man indeed. But charming... Colin Firth is at his best as Dr. Stuckart, who hates Jews SO much -and still wants to have everything laid out in Law. Because when it's in the Law -it's true, we all know that. Stanley Tucci is great as Eichmann -who organizes the whole "work shop". Acting on a square inch (loosly translated from Dutch) and he's very good at it!
What stunned me was the way the characters talked about killing millions of their own country men, in a way they talked about killing flies. The horrible thing is I got used to it in ten minutes or so. I had to bring myself back and think: THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE! Men, women, children. As if they were cattle.
Here in Holland we were occupied during WWII by the Nazi's. That war is a big part of our history. Over 101,000 of our Jewish families, friends and neighbours were deported and murdered. And it all started at Wannsee. In one hour or so. Depressing.
The veneer of civilization is very thin indeed. Yet Nazi's loved Schubert & Beethoven. Poor composers, they would have turned in their graves!
And what a brilliant film this is. Bravo.
The Royle Family (1998)
Brilliant extra long episode
An hour long treat just aired on BBC One and what a wonderful episode it was -an other one. Shameless as always, the full cast are at their best -now with Nana as the center of attention as she and her bed moved into the living room.
A beautiful, stunning scene between Sue Johnston (Barbara Royle) and Liz Smith (her Mum) with a good long shot at the end of that scene, just watching the two together whilst music from the radio is playing. The clever writing (including Caroline Aherne) and brilliant performances of the cast made this an extraordinary episode where -in spite of the 'lack' of manners or good behaviour, this is a strong, loving family. And that's where it's all about -in my opinion.
The serious scenes are seamlessly followed by the hilarious ones as indeed life itself can be -at least if you're open to that kind of absurdity.
I don't wish to write any spoilers, although I did write it on top of my comment but to be on the safe side I just leave it there to be.
Jake in Progress (2005)
Nice and tasteful
Series one just aired in the Netherlands (june 2006) and to start of with a great plus: no canned laughter on this show -and I am very pleased about that! Well played and presented humor (I do find that the writing has similarities with Gilmore Girls) brought with a great pace.
John Stamos seems to enjoy playing Jake Phillips very much indeed. He's looking very good at 42 but I find his character a bit too much into women -and as he's not twenty anymore it's a bit over the top. The scenes have common, day-to-day subjects and are therefore believable.
Ian Gomez (Adrian) and Rick Hoffman (Patrick) play their characters very well indeed but the series would not be lost without them. Stamos is a strong enough actor on his own to make this sitcom work. Wendie Malick (Naomi) is nice as always and feeds Stamos' character. So after five episodes: a seven.
20 centímetros (2005)
Ramón Salazar's directed this movie-with-music and I do not particularly like what he has done with it. The story is not that spectacular (transsexual wants operation to remove his penis) but very thin indeed so extra drama on the side is needed and added to fill a whole movie. Too many sidelines and extra, needless information is given. The switches to the musical scenes are not that brilliant -it's quite logic to have them when Marieta has her narcoleptic attack but there are a few out of the blue and they don't move me. Could be the singing and dancing of Leading Lady Mónica Cervera -I am not that much impressed with her at all. Of course we're spoiled after The Singing Detective and -more recent- Moulin Rouge or Chicago. It's a must for a director to follow one's own path but one can't behave like those movies were never made! The movie is not bizarre enough for me -but the subject should be. The choices Salazar made are a bit on the safe side and they miss a bizarre kind of fantasy.
The good bits: Chevi Muraday made very nice choreography's. Suggestive or just festive: very nice work indeed. Pleased to see that dancers can act as Pablo Puyol proves. Without any shamelessness at all he acts and dances his way through this movie. Bravo. The bests scenes are for the lady's at Marieta's apartment! Wonderful characters indeed played by Spain's finest actresses. Brava.
I'm sorry but I can't find the name of the elderly actress who plays Marieta's hormone-shot-giving friend. During her telephone conversation we can see a photograph of her at young age -and that scene is just a little miracle -it moved me to tears. Bravo Salazar. Could have lasted longer.