Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Triple Echo (1972)
An echo of three lonely souls
I have loved this film ever since I first saw it, so much so that I had bought a VHS tape AND the player, as this forgotten gem is unfortunately still not available on DVD. I will not explain the plot, as the synopsis is covered rather detailed on the first page, but concentrate on the specifics. Michael Apted, from the first shot, creates a certain mood of the film which is very effective that once in, the viewer is fully engaged to the end (despite certain plot and screenplay shortcomings) and that is isolation and loneliness. And this emotion is shared by all three central characters, shaping their decisions and actions. A fitting title, as well, as we do have a three-way character development here. They all want the same things. Brian Deacon's loneliness is in his alienation and is very much a need to belong. Oliver Reed's is purely physical and Glenda shares both. All the actors are very good in their portrayals. However, Glenda Jackson's performance is what glues the whole story together. A brilliant turn, and probably her most subtle that I have seen. The silent looks that she gives are priceless. Alas, this is a forgotten gem. I don't think it will ever get a DVD release, unfortunately. But a must see, for sure. Especially if you like for those rare, character and performance driven dramas, all too rare in today's market. 8 1/2 out of 10
The Deep Blue Sea (2011)
The Beauty of Weisz
Yes, the film is depressing. Yes, it is very long (or it feels rather longer than it is). But, it is good. After viewing it, I couldn't get it out of my mind. It's utterly haunting. There are many things that were less than great in this film. But I've narrowed it down to 1: The Pacing. If this one flaw were corrected, it would have made an excellent film. But, rather than focusing on the negative, I will write about the positive aspects of this particular movie. First, the cinematography is excellent. Those ultra-saturated colors serve the film and the period which it represents very well. I've covered the editing (in the negative) but I will say that there were some surprisingly beautiful camera movements in the piece, that were noticeable, yet served the mood of the story very well. However, if you ever see this film, I would recommend it for the wonderfully subtle performance of Rachel Weisz, who has grown into one of the best actors of her generation. Everything you need to know about the way her character is feeling is not always in the dialogue, but on her mesmerizing face. Weisz makes you not necessarily relate (it is, almost always un-relatable, because of the period and the character that she is playing), but she does make you care. There is no question that this is not a film for everyone. It is slow, it is internal, but it is also worth giving it a try. I moaned and complained all the way through, but in the end, I was unable to stop thinking about it. And, that alone is a testament to its power. It slowly gets under your skin, and you won't even notice it!
Harrison's Flowers (2000)
MacDowell is a revelation in an excellent film
There are very, very few films that had dared to tackle the controversial subject of wars in the former Yugoslavia and get it right. This is one of them, and done extremely well. Now, if your knowledge on the subject is limited, you may have a hard time following the politics of it. However, you shouldn't let that prevent you from viewing it; because in its core, it's actually a very basic and touching human story. It is surprisingly accurate, moving, harrowing, suspenseful and (dare I say) very entertaining. It's a work of fiction but actually based on some real and well documented incidents (the infamous, bloody invasion of Vukovar, Croatia, and the crimes committed by the Serbs against Croatian people during this time). The acting is excellent all around (Brody, Gleeson and Strathairn especially), but the real star of this film is the lovely Andie MacDowell. The actress (Four Weddings and a Funeral) who has, by some, on occasion been heavily criticized for her 'limited' acting abilities, in this film more than proves her worth. In a very difficult, dramatic role, Ms. MacDowell gives an Oscar-caliber performance that is both heartbreaking and very brave. You should check it out, even if you know nothing about this period of tragic Croatian history. See it for its remarkable story, tight editing, sweeping cinematography and superb performances by Andie MacDowell and Adrien Brody
A hetedik szoba (1996)
An Unforgettable, powerful and a unique story
"The Seventh Chamber" is one of those rare, tiny, indie films that you run into by accident and because its modest budget or unique subject matter never really gets the recognition it deserves. I came to know it because I've been an avid admirer of Edith Stein or (as she was known in religious life and the Catholic Church) St. Benedicta of the Cross. It was made via Italy and Hungary and is dubbed in Italian (a minor flaw). It tells the later part of this famous German Jewish philosopher's life. It concentrates particularly on her conversion to Catholicism and her consequent entrance into the Carmel (a strict, cloistered convent of the Carmelite nuns). These incredibly important decisions made some monumental changes in her life, such as her life-long rift from her beloved mother and the rest of her, very traditional Jewish family. Where she shined as a philosopher, teacher and lecturer, she was failing in her humble duties as a new nun. She was already in her forties when she entered the convent and had to carry on various domestic, physically demanding duties, normally intended for young girls usually entering the order. Feeling isolated, tired, old, lonely and heartbroken over losing her mother, she persevered in her calling. What initially started as a background story, in the second part of the film is masterfully pushed into the foreground: the Hitler party taking over the Germany and the eventual persecution of the Jews. Edith, now in the convent, is still very much aware (and terrified) of this growing hatred and the rising atrocities that will forever change her life. Maia Morgenstern (Mary from Gibson's "Passion of the Christ") plays Edith in a bravura, tour De force performance that you'll never forget. But, the real strength of this film is its vision. It was filmed in a slightly abstract way, not necessary following linear story-telling. Also, while historically accurate, it chose to develop its own style by a 'free interpretation' of Edith's experience. Sometimes this can hurt the film on account of 'artistic license'. Not here. It respects the facts but by zeroing in on Stein's possible interpretations, some of them coming from her own writings, and some not. This gives the story a considerable edge and is, simply, staggering in emotions. It is not an easy experience to watch and it is not entertaining in a traditional sense. It was not meant to be, however. The story of this individual, similar in fate to all Jews in WWII Europe, is a heavy, heartbreaking account, no matter what the circumstances. That, in fact, is the story of the film, more than being a narrative biography of a person. Once you see it that way, it will take a life of its own and you will be completely immersed in it and not likely to forget it soon. The films this bold and unique are not being often made. It was never picked up by the Hollywood for its difficult subject matter (the protagonist is a nun) and that's good because it retained its originality and vision. "The Seventh Chamber/ Room" will touch the deep corners of your heart and psyche, making it a truly powerful, important and simply unforgettable viewing experience.
Red River (1948)
A Great, heartwarming adventure
First, I'd like to mention that I am not, nor ever have been a Western genre film fan. Having said that, "Red River" might have just made a believer out of me. Rather than bore you with the plot, which you've probably read, I will say that you simply shouldn't miss seeing this powerful picture. Whether or not you like Westerns, you will appreciate this film for its values which transcend genre. However, the great 'wild west' has significance, as the location of this epic is as important to the film as its fine group of actors. The incredible cinematography (b&w) accents the hills, valleys and water so beautifully that having the color would somehow spoil the experience. A wonderful score adds pace, drama and emotion to a very well-written, fully developed screenplay. And the superlative performances by all players create characters that are new, exciting and unforgettable. Finally, the two lead actors, John Wayne and the new-comer Montgomery Clift, are like two pillars that hold the picture together. It is their performances that keep it moving and interesting. Wayne is on top of his game and the young Clift could have fooled you into thinking that he'd been around a block quite a few times. In reality, this was Monte's only second picture and filmed the same year as his Oscar-nominated performance in "The Search", so, really he had been quite an unknown at this point. Therefore, "Red River" directors, besides creating an unforgettable picture that it is, also took quite a chance on Clift, with the incredible result. There aren't that many great films around anymore. Treat yourself with "Red River" and experience the fun, adventure and the greatness that doesn't come around that often.
Ship of Fools (1965)
The Rough Seas
Ship Of Fools is not an easy film by any standard; too many characters, multiple story lines, the main theme and its length all present certain challenges for a casual viewer. However, if you invest yourself from the beginning, I promise you it is a rewarding ride and you will be glad that you have seen it. Of all the Oscar nods it has received were well deserved, especially Oscar Werner and the magnificent Simone Signoret, who are the heart and soul of the picture. In fact, the film truly began for me with the Signoret's entrance. I found myself anticipating her scenes throughout the film. The other actors are all quite good, even if not fully developed. Until the last 30 mins or so I kept wondering why Vivien Leigh took this micro-minor, underdeveloped role in the first place. Except for her monologue towards the end, she was rather wasted in the picture. There is a certain beauty and class in the film's cinematography (the glorious black and white serves the story well), art direction and the costumes (although not correct for the period, I thought). The director did a nice job in keeping it all together while telling the story; in someone else's hands running these many characters and story lines would have been a disaster. "Ship" is not for everyone, but if you appreciate the history, well written screenplays and strong acting performances, you will have all of it and then some. Take a chance, get on board, relax and appreciate this film for what it truly is: a work of art!