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22 reviews in total 
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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
brilliant dancing, great production, 5 May 2012

Kiss Me Kate may be the greatest musical on film. Certainly, the dancing has never been equaled.

The songs by Cole Porter are classic, of course, and the orchestral arrangements are glorious. The book and lyrics cannot be topped. That's a good start.

But the cast makes this a shining gem. Howard Keel is handsome, debonair, and mischievous. Kathryn Grayson is at her most beautiful and in perfect voice. They have their usual wonderful chemistry.

But, for me, it is the dancing that shines brightest. The choreography is stunning -- much of it done by the dancers themselves (Bob Fosse, Bobby Van, Tommy Rall) because of their specific abilities. They are exuberant, athletic, and artistic. Combine them with the extraordinary Ann Miller and you have the greatest dance team ever born. The producers saw what they had and devised special numbers just to highlight the talents of this amazing group of dancers.

The pacing is fast and furious. The music is classic. The ensemble is great and they seem to be having the time of their lives.

90's kaleidoscope, 2 January 2010

A rather amazing series from 1997. Fast-paced with quick editing, well-written and, almost without exception, wonderfully acted. Lovingly directed by Adrian Shergold.

David Morrissey is young and handsome as Shaun, an aggressive Inland Revenue investigator. He deservedly gets much of the air time, but there are many stories here which eventually weave in and out of each other. Phil Daniels is brilliant and funny and repulsive (not a mean feat) as a bulimic ex-football writer, now thoroughly cynical food critic who hates eating and food. It would have been nice to enjoy more of his ingenious character.

The series follows a dozen Londoners of all ages, races, and social backgrounds, none of whom seem able to find much love, which results in much havoc. All of them are interesting -- even compelling. Sandra Voe as Annie, the mother of a dangerously volatile schizophrenic man, turns in the most touching performance of all. Her final scenes with David Morrissey are deeply felt and profoundly heartbreaking.

In general, the emotions run high throughout -- too much, perhaps, at times -- but it is certainly preferable to the inanity on television today, especially in the US. And there are some dicey plot-points, chief among which is Shaun's abrupt change of character mid-series, but the show is so adhesive and engaging these seem slight misdemeanors.

15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Merci!, 18 March 2008

This powerful, humane, intelligent drama was made by, and appeared in prime time on, France 2. It received just three letters of protest along with thousands praising its astonishing young actors and their memorable story. Try to imagine such a positive, thoughtful film on American broadcast television; one simply about the impassioned relationship between two men. No one gets sick, beaten up, or dies. It's just a question of love.

Cyrille Thouvenin (so wonderful in another must-see, Confusion of Genders) stars as angry, frustrated, deeply-closeted Laurent. He is terrified to come out to his parents because they are so virulently homophobic. He witnessed his cousin's coming out: disowned, thrown out, and died without his family around him. Laurent lives in fear with his best friend Carole, who goes along with the fiction that she is his girlfriend for the benefit of his parents.

Then he meets Cedric (handsome and exceedingly sexy Stephan Guerin-Tillie), with whom Laurent has a college internship. After a rather combative start (neither young man is particularly adept at 'making friends'), sparks fly, and the two revel in a joyous fling as they discover love. The heat, happiness, and fervor they project is palpable, gratifying, and genuine.

The problem is that Cedric is up front about his sexuality and makes a huge deal about Laurent coming out; Laurent is truculent, defiant, and refuses to consider it. Carole is tired of the charade and has a love of her own to nurture. Everyone wants Laurent out, but he is immobilized. When Cedric's mother impulsively let's the cat out of the bag, Cedric and Laurent's private world falls apart. How they, their parents and friends, deal with the consequences forms the crux of the illuminating story.

This transcends being just another 'gay' film. It is about learning how to love. Gay, straight, old or young, all must learn. As for Laurent and Cedric, rarely has a simple "I love you" been uttered with more poignancy on film.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
sweet and positive, 15 March 2008

This touching Serbian film deftly portrays the tragedy and confusion of the post-war Balkans, and does so with unfailing lightness and humor.

Belgrade, in the late 90's, became the refuge of a cascade of displaced persons, like handsome young Labud (swan) and Romana. They have enlisted the services of a match-maker to help them find companions.

The story is an old one – how the young couple find, lose, and ultimately keep one another – so the charm and interest of the film comes principally from the surrounding details. Labud, alone and living in a shelter, fantasizes about people from his past and has imaginary conversations with them. Among those who populate and direct his thoughts are his former fiancée (she emigrated to Chicago when war broke out), his mother, 'professor', various ancestors. Romana has her past with her, too, including her father, sister, and first love. It is a very busy film, therefore, especially when you consider all the eccentrics that also haunt the dating service.

There is much sentiment, but never a moment of sentimentality – especially surprising when one considers the loss that pervades the aftermath of armed conflict. The director makes a point of contrasting the varied pasts of his characters with the ethnic 'purity' which motivated the senseless war. He has concocted an uplifting, understated little gem with most engaging young stars.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
much ado about nothing, 27 February 2008

To comprehend this empty, meaningless drivel, one must accept, as do the characters in it, the premise that Liv Tyler is a veritable goddess of love. Unfortunately, as she is stultifyingly dull, inane, superficial, selfish, coy, and vapid, this is impossible. God only knows why Bertolucci cast her in this role, surrounded by others who can actually act. Not even consummate pro Jeremy Irons can make his fascination with this simpering whiner sound sincere.

The story is as banal as she is: teenage Lucy (Tyler) returns to Italy to lose her virginity, dreaming of a sexy young Italian she met at 13. She does not delight in the Tuscan landscape, study art, or learn Italian, which she insists on pronouncing with an excruciating American accent. Lucy lodges with a fatuous English sculpture and family who live the kind of 'bohemian' life only available to the idle rich. The boys are beautiful (young Joseph Fiennes is stunning) and, their hormones raging, are after just one thing.

The only thoughtful character is a middle-aged man dying of AIDS (Irons). His inexplicable presence and predicament may have been the director's idea of adding 'weight' to this fluff. He and Lucy become friends, though one cannot grasp why. Perhaps she admires his ability speak in sentences that parse. Her utter self-absorption is forgotten for a moment as he is whisked away to die in a hospital. But as soon as the ambulance is out of sight, pretty, perky, pouty Lucy quickly comes to her senses and returns to the task at hand: giving it up.

The only other American in the film is a thoroughly odious entertainment lawyer who, when not on the phone making deals, cheats on his wife at every turn. Being within earshot, she always catches him. He follows her around and grovels.

But back to Lucy! She is a relentless tease and remorselessly leads on her paramour. When the time comes, however, she spurns him with one last shrill whine of consternation, and flounces out of the room leaving him decidedly 'blue'.

Bertolucci must have been in love to have been this blind.

6 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
80's hate fest, 27 February 2008

This British pot-boiler has one thing going for it: the young men are uniformly good looking. The older men are opinionated, right-wing Thatcherites whose behavior brings back all the acrimony of the Reagan/Thatcher years. Young or old, however, morals in this three-part mini-series are universally suspect and no one comes off particularly well.

Nick is a handsome young gay man fresh out of Oxford. It is not pivotal to the story, but he has an extraordinarily beautiful head of hair which makes watching this drivel much easier. Nick comes to London with a friend, whose father Gerald is a rich conservative politician, and babysits his sister Cat while the family frolics in the south of France. They neglect to inform him that, when upset, Cat cuts herself with an assortment of knives and other kitchen implements. Nick mistakes their self-serving 'gratitude' for affection and moves in, finding out too late just how much they despise and patronize him. Inexplicably, Nick lives in this house for four years but, as the plot depends on this point, it's best not to question it.

While Nick is most pleasing to look at, he is unbearably obsequious. His coy subjection to rich bigots soon had me climbing the walls. Deeply closeted except to Cat (she guesses his big secret on sight), he does like a little anonymous sex just so we know he is actually gay. Though it hardly seems possible, Nick takes a lover who is even more closeted than he.

Supercilious Tories scorn and insult the two blacks in the film, so imagine the venom which spews forth when Nick's sexual orientation is reported in a tabloid. Gerald, in true Tory fashion, has become involved in several personal and financial scandals, so the revelations about Nick add to his embarrassment. This gives Gerald one final opportunity to roundly castigate the hapless boy.

Except for one brief moment of indignation, Nick takes the abuse heaped upon him in silence and tacit agreement. Denial, self-loathing, naiveté, or ignorance? You decide, if you can manage to sit through this whole thing without throwing something at the set.

Forgive and Forget (2000) (TV)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Why?!, 4 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is surely one of the nastiest, most misleading, films ever made.

The only redeeming factor is handsome John Shepherd who plays David, a very closeted London construction worker. Secretly in love with his life-long mate Theo, David's covert problems escalate when Theo announces he is moving in with his girlfriend. Unable to share Theo's time and attention, David will do anything to undermine the couple's relationship.

David, with a misguided fantasy of 'sharing', gets the bright idea to come out of the closet on a talk show. An unwitting Theo joins him and is utterly embarrassed when he is told, in front of a national audience, that David is in love with him.

That the plan backfires goes without saying, and the pretense of light comedy ends abruptly. David's ghastly father pronounces him sick and summarily tosses him out of the house. Theo hates him and, to show him just how much, beats David senseless with a lead pipe. I kid you not.

It seems that Theo and his girlfriend are a perfect match after all: they are equally smug and hateful. Looking back with pity and loathing at the wretched, bleeding David, they walk off into the sunset together. A perfect ending for a mean-spirited film that gay-friendly TLA should be ashamed to have produced.

touching, low key, apolitical, and real, 29 July 2007

This little gem may be the best news out of Israel in years. There are no politics and no ax to grind. Eytan Fox has simply given us a powerful, bittersweet love story between two soldiers in a remote outpost. It could be anywhere, in any army, at any time. It just happens to be now, and in Israel.

With great mastery, Mr. Fox put together a stunning ensemble of characters that are diverse, real, funny, and human. Outstanding are Ohad Knoller as Yossi, commander of the unit, and Yehuda Levi as his lover. Opposites attract: Yossi is a career man who has stepped out of character to love Jagger, is terrified of discovery, and reluctant to declare his love; Jagger, so nick-named because of his seductive rock star looks (Mick was sexy, but never this sweet and seraphically beautiful), is a free spirit who is beginning to demand that they live in the open. The two fight over this just before a disastrous foray into dangerous territory. Their parting will break your heart with its profound sense of lost possibilities and opportunities. One yearns for a happier ending for these two sincere, sensual, loving men.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
heartfelt and heartrending, 29 July 2007

What a lovely discovery! This bittersweet little film by Jeff London examines the lives of three young gay men at various stages of being out, attending a 'Christian' college.

Hector (Merrick McMahon) has been outed, is being persecuted by the Dean and his jock henchmen, and shunned by classmates. Alex (gentle and winning Mike Dolan) is new at the school, though a senior, because his father hopes the religious environment will cure him of 'a certain young man' from home. Beautiful and troubled Paul (played perfectly by Ron Petronicolos) is deep in the closet after being compromised in a library restroom over the summer. He hides his homosexuality at first, but soon tells his room-mate and best friend Robby (Patrick Hoesterey). Robby is straight, and unpleasantly surprised, but quickly overcomes his reservations because of his love for Paul.

The four boys become a little family and try to protect each other from the violence, intolerance, hate, and hypocrisy that surrounds them. Each character is lovingly drawn, and they all change in remarkable ways. Alex falls in love with Paul and leads him towards the light of self-realization and personal commitment. Hector, unfortunately, is not so lucky. They are all watched over by St. Jude, who appears briefly in one of the dearest moments in the film.

There are flaws and stretches of credulity in the story, but the overwhelming sincerity and heartfelt nature of the writing and acting negate such quibbles.

The outtakes are serendipitous, nicely edited and really funny -- happily so after the seriousness of the film. The interviews reveal the actors to be just as sweet, supportive, humorous, and genuine as they are on screen.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
gritty and seductive, 15 July 2007

A girl in Rio de Janeiro, estranged from her bullying detective father, falls in love with a boy. She works in a strip club. He has an angelic face and heavenly body, but is also a cold-blooded sociopath. To complicate matters, the boy's crimes are being investigated by the girl's very nasty and hypocritical father.

This little Brazilian gem -- with all its flaws and faults -- is a powerful film. It looks life, with all its brutality and injustice, right in the face. Despite their being kicked around by life and the police, the two naive lovers try to make a life together against all odds. It's a wild dream, though, and she knows it. But one feels her dilemma. It's impossible not to love this beautiful and seductive outlaw.

Theirs is a story worth of Greek tragedy.

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