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Oliver Twist (2005)
Dickens is perfect
Charles Dickens is the finest writer in the history of the written word. Small wonder that it's almost impossible to screw up a Dickens story. This production was terrific, but as a purist, I have a few small complaints. The location was good, but I felt it was too clean to be London c. 1845, probably because it was filmed in Europe. I found Fagins boys a little too jocular. I loved the music...but I am a huge fan of composer Rachel Portman (she did the lovely soundtrack to Nicholas Nickelby). My main disappointment was that the parentage of Oliver was not revealed. I think that Polanski could have omitted the characters of Toby Crackit and Mr. Grimwig, and spent the time in wrapping up the story properly (in true Dickensian fashion). The line that Mr. Bumble delivers when he is told that the law assumes he has control over the actions of his wife (in concealing Olivers parentage) is a classic..."if the law supposes that...the law is an ass".
Anyhow, no time spent watching Dickens is wasted. a definite two thumbs up.
Screen Two: Deadly Voyage (1996)
How could such events happen?
If you are interested in learning more about this sort of thing happening in modern civilization, there is an excellent book called "Outlaw Seas" or "The Outlaw Sea", and it describes, in story after story, how these things do happen. The lawlessness of the high seas is a reality for a number of reasons. One, many of the world's freighters are of questionable registry (nationality) and it's difficult to impossible to enforce international laws when the ships owners don't have an office in a real country. Two, many ship lines employ crews from dirt poor third world countries. The crews are often (like illegal immigrant workers) threatened and bullied into complying with questionable or illegal practices. Three, there is often a language barrier, not only between the officers and the crew, but also between the crew members themselves. The crew are rewarded for their compliance and their silence. Four, once committing an illegal act, the ships are able to hide in plain sight with little more than a fresh coat of paint. Anyway, it's fascinating reading.
Horrifying story, excellent movie. Does anyone else notice how HBO seems to make the best and most important movies? Hollywood has trouble releasing enough Oscar worthy movies in any given year, so that several of the top 5 contenders usually come from Britain. Jerry Bruckheimer = the end of quality cinema.
I loved the thoroughly evil performance by Sean Pertwee. I also, as usual, loved Omar Epps.
Clueless is a classic
What a treasure this movie is. Every time we watch it we roar, and after seeing it at least 10 times, it never gets stale. The cast is fabulous and the script is so clever. It is as much a classic as Emma.
Just learned where the name of the high school came from. "Bronson Alcott High School....director Amy Heckerling was dating actor Bronson Pinchot (Beverley Hills Cop) at the time. According to IMDb trivia, Alcott is his middle name.
Dozens & dozens of quotable lines in this gem. Love the line from Cher (referring to Mr. Hall and Miss Geist) old people can be so cute". Love the Dan Hedaya character. Even though he is tough and gruff, he is warm and caring with his "children".
I would recommend this movie to anyone, although not everyone will appreciate it in the same way.
Saw this movie on its release and have treasured it since. What a wonderful group of actors (I always find the casting one of the most interesting aspects of a film). Really enjoyed seeing dramatic actress Jacqueline Bisset in this role and Wallace Shawn is always a hoot. The script is smart, sly and tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at almost everything "Beverley Hills". Loved Paul Bartel's "doctor" and Ray Sharkey's manservant. This was raunchy and crude, but thank god! Unless you're a prude, I heartily recommend this movie. FYI for anyone who likes to play six degrees of Kevin Bacon, Mary Woronov & Paul Bartel were in "Rock & Roll High School". Mary Woronov and Robert Beltran were in "Night of the Comet" together. They were all three in "Eating Raoul".