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I also have a DVD on the market "rhythmically Speaking" a history of jazz drumming available from Cadence.
Be Cool (2005)
It was cool
Saw it on television and really enjoyed it. Actually I liked it better than Get Shorty, primarily since I can't stand Danny DeVito. I actually thought Get Shorty would have been better without him. And one really does not have to see "Shorty" to get this film.
But this film is clever and funny. Travolta does "cool" so well and he and Uma Thurman work so well together---recall their scenes together in Pulp Fiction.
The film works on a number of levels---a complex caper film where we never know who is trying to outsmart whom, a movie about how the business side of things has taken over the music business, and as a star is born story.
All themes are always interconnected so the viewer has to stay alert.
The direction is good. The film never lags and there are some nice angle shots and fancy editing which probably is influenced by music videos.
Be cool definitely is cool.
In Plain Sight (2008)
great humor, great characters
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this show. Our comment was that it looks like Hollywood people actually can write. We prefer character driven shows and the characters are great. There is whimsy and great interplay.
The plot was complex but only because more than one story overlapped and the pilot should probably have been 2 hours instead of 90 minutes to help develop some of the themes and the characters, but there was no problem in following what was happening.
I hope the relationship between Mary and Raphael develops. She obviously wants more but sees herself as either not capable of such a relationship or because her job won't let her have a solid relationship.
But will she develop a relationship with detective Dershowitz? That would be interesting.
We look forward to the next episode.
Romance & Cigarettes (2005)
I took this out not knowing anything about it. I was apprehensive when I saw the Coen brothers names since I am not a fan of their directing style. But Turturro really comes through.
This movie is a kind of collage with many influences. Many scenes reflect the influence of Fellini, and while the choreography was not Fosse influenced, I felt that the way dance was used does reflect a Fosse influence.
The use of music through the film was great and the music itself was great. A fantastic mix which perfectly reflected the story line.
The acting was great. It is always interesting to see people associated with certain kinds of roles play opposite to that. Gandolfini can show tenderness, and I almost did not recognize Aida Turturo who played Tony's sister on the Sopranos. And Mary-Louise Parker is always great.
In short a marvelous modern love story told in a post modern way. Very watchable.
A remedy for health care
As a Canadian What can I say? Michael Moore does a great job of showing how the American free enterprise health care system does not work, that government run health care systems do work, and that none of the myths Americans believe about government run health care are true.
Moore shows us problems with the American system, and shows us what is right with systems in Canada, England, France, and, with great irony, Cuba.
Moore, of course, is not trying to be fair to both sides since his point is a polemical one. Most people with health insurance in the States do not have adequate coverage, even when they believe they do. Insurance companies are too quick to deny care for all sorts of reasons, and people then have little or no recourse.
One of the big objections to universal care is that taxes will be high. There are two answers to this. One is that health care taxes are probably less than private health care premiums, and in the countries where there is government health care, while we are not told what the taxes are, people clearly still have enough money to live comfortably. And, of course, they do not have to worry about health care costs.
The film has great whimsy as well as tragedy. And Moore makes his points with great accuracy.
The Caveman's Valentine (2001)
Fantasy becomes reality
I picked this up in the video store not knowing what to expect and was I pleasantly surprised. This film is a real work of art and works on many levels. First, the direction is magnificent. Lemmons works magic blending reality with flashbacks, imaginings and fantasies. Weaving all these together is a true feat. This is a film one could watch without the sound just to appreciate the images.
Second, the arts that are portrayed are excellent, from the dancing to the music to the photography. Lemmons has a fantastic arts sense.
Third, the performances. Jackson is magnificent. A musician who cannot take the pressure of his career and of the context in which he must perform yet maintains his artistic sensibility. Like so many real people, his fears become externalized, but he still maintains a sense of his reality. And it is this sense which makes his character credible when it comes to the plot.
The plot is a good mystery but would have been hackneyed in lesser hands. And the plot works on at least two levels. Romulus may be crazy, but he knows what is going on and the images of his wife beautifully portrayed by Tamara Tunie keeps Romulus grounded. And since this is a character driven film, this conflict between Romulus's fears and fantasies with the realities he finds himself in, works beautifully thanks to Jackson's performance. On the second level the mystery qua mystery also works well. There are enough confusions to keep the viewer guessing.
All in all a great film.
Les uns et les autres (1981)
One of the Great ones
I just watched Bolero for the umpteenth time and it gets better each time. The film works on so many levels--character complexity, theme, emotion--that it stands up to many viewings. Lelouch is a Romantic, but knows when to stop, in the French tradition. His use of silence to convey emotion, especially near the end when David finds his mother is extremely poignant.
Lelouch also gets incredible performances from his actors.
This film deals with identity, war, lost love, and redefining oneself. it is profound while being entertaining. A true work of art and one of the great films of all time.