I, on the other hand, was massively disappointed, especially by Branagh as a sort of English upper-class colonel with a stick-on cavalry moustache and by the needless addition of an introductory scene at the Wailing Wall. But I am prejudiced. I read the 1934 novel decades ago and again more recently. I liked the 1974 star-studded version with Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Widmark, and Michael Yorkdespite the fact that Albert Finney was a very poor version of Christie's Hercule Poirot.
In my opinion, the 2010 television version of the story starred David Suchet as the definitive Poirot, and the ending was far and away the best of all the versions with which I am familiar. So I think Christie fans may want to skip this edition of the classic.
Compadres (Buddies) is an above average buddy flick with more than a little violence. It starts Omar Chaparro and Joey Morgan as the buddies, and both are great. Eric Roberts and Kevin Pollack, who are listed first and second in the IMDb cast list have minor roles and both are them more than adequate. The 'storyline' says the cop's wife is killed but in the version I saw, it's his girlfriend (novia) who is kidnapped.
Diego Velázques (1599-1660) painted one of the earliest known Spanish nudes, the Rokeby Venus, featured as the "loot" in the film "The Happy Thieves."
About two centuries after Velázques, Francisco Goya 1746-1828) painted a short, plump nude maja (street girl) reclining on a bed. When this picture was criticized as obscene, he painted the same girl again, in the same position but dressed, which makes her more, rather than less suggestive. The chunky girl in the "maja" paintings does not resemble Goya's portraits of the Duchess of Alba in any way.
When I was last in the Prado the two majas were hanging on either side of the door to the room housing the portrait of King Carlos IV and family and the queen was definitely not the lovely young woman who played the part in "The Naked Maja."
Goya also painted two portraits of his very close friend, the tall, angular Duchess of Alba, in one she is dressed in white and in the other, in black. The 'black portrait' shows the duchess pointing imperiously at the ground where the words "solo Goya" ("only Goya") can be seen written in the sand at her feet.
Milos Forman's "Goya's Ghosts" (2006) is a far better film and much closer to historical fact. Goya's passing affair with the Duchess of Alba, who was certainly not the girl in the Maja paintings, does not figure in the latter film.
Back then, this film seemed to be mocking our idealism, and no one I knew then liked it. Forty years later I had an opportunity to see it again, and somewhat reluctantly started to watch. To my surprise, I discovered that "Sweet Charity" has always been a love letter to the craziness of the 60's. Shirley MacLaine is wonderful and the supporting cast is great with Paula Clark, Chita Rivera, Ben Vereen, Sammy Davis, Jr.,and Stubby Kaye.
Emmett performed his first song Old Dan Tucker at the age of fifteen. He was one of four men in the "Original Virginia Minstrels," with Frank Brower. Billy Whitlock, and Dick Pelham. Emmett later performed with Bryant's Minstrels in New York and then with Leavitt's Gigantean Minstrels. Emmett wrote the song Dixie in the spring of 1859, while with Bryant's Minstrels in New York. At the beginning of the Civil War both armies marched to the tune of Dixie but by 1861 Dixie had become a Southern tune.
The movie is essentially a series of songs and 'black-face' acts. The latter, although generally considered humorous in 1943, will probably offend many viewers today.
For those who are not familiar with this encounter, Juan Diego saw the Virgin on a hill north of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) then sacred to the Nahuatl-speaking population. The Virgin told him to ask the Bishop (Zumarraga, with an impressively aquiline nose) for a shrine to be built on that site. The bishop was not impressed at the first or second request, and finally asked Juan Diego to bring a sign. At the third meeting, the Virgin told Juan Diego to return the following day and gather flowers. Unfortunately, his uncle was dying that day and Juan Diego went for help. He took another route in order to avoid the Virgin, but was intercepted by her.
The Virgin then said his uncle was cured, and that he should gather flowers -- on cold, rocky Tepeyac in December. He did so, carried them in his blanket to Bishop Zumarraga and, when he opened the cloth, on it was the picture of the Virgin which today may be seen in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico city, visited by 15 million people each year.
General Francisco Franco, known to hold right wing, monarchist views, began the conquest of Spain and in September 1936, other generals named him Chief of State. The war officially ended on 1 April 1939, but persecution of political opponents continued for years. An estimated 200,000 political prisoners probably died of starvation, overwork or execution. The Fascist regime ruled Spain until Franco died on 20 November 1975.
El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth) is a fascinating but surprisingly black fairy tale set in 1944, when Franco's army was energetically eradicating pockets of resistance to the Fascist government. A widowed mother and her daughter join the mother's second husband, an Army Captain, in his cold and austere post in northern Spain. The surrounding forest hides a cadre of resistance fighters and their encounters with the army are brutal and unsuitable for children.
The mother's pregnancy is difficult, the surroundings are frigid and the Captain is cruel. The little girl escapes into a magic world in which she has a chance to save her mother and herself. The story is original, enchanting and beautifully filmed, but ultimately tragic.
The film was initially denied release because it paints a hilarious but extremely negative picture of women, of local priests, and of local government. It also includes a great deal of amazingly foul, but ultimately very funny, Mexican slang. Even the title, La Ley de Herodes, is part of a very crude saying that might (with considerable liberty) be translated as "Law Blue: Do it to them or they'll do it to you."
Meryl Streep is the editor (Miranda Priestly) who is amazingly able to evoke some sympathy for herself in the role of the bitch-on-wheels editor.
Andy Sachs, under the pressure of her job, and with the aid of a fellow worker (Stanley Tucci as Nigel) gradually becomes fashion conscious and involved. She goes to Paris for fashion week, and then must choose between her easy-going boyfriend (Adrian Grenier as Nate) and a highly successful and very charming writer played by Simon Baker.
Christie wrote (in By the Pricking of My Thumbs) "During the long course of their married life they had hardly ever been separated for any length of time. Starting before their marriage, they had called themselves a pair of "young adventurers." They had married, they had had two children, and just as the world was seeming rather dull and middle-aged to them, the second war had come about ." The five "Tommy and Tuppence" books are not among Christie's best efforts, but they are more than fair. That cannot be said for the "adaptation" in which Tuppence has become an alcoholic and into which an American soldier, an unwanted pregnancy, and Miss Jane Marple a Christie character who never ages have all been quite foolishly inserted.
All in all, neither this adaptation nor the actress who portrays Miss Jane Marple has the charm and ingenuity that Christie fans have come to expect. Christie fans should avoid it.
The Spanish actor Antonio Banderas does a creditable job as Mexican Pancho Villa, but for me it was sometimes hard to reconcile the face of that actor with memories of the real man, rather like watching Leonardo de Caprio do a great job playing George Washington. But movies are produced to make money, not as classroom texts, and Banderas undoubtedly sells more tickets than almost anyone else who might essay the role.
Wallace Beery fit the role very well when he played Villa in 1934, but the Mexican accent was a problem and the short, stocky Stuart Erwin was cast as the tall, blond John Reed. Of today's actors, James Gandolfini would physically fit and could certainly play Pancho Villa, but he probably doesn't have the drawing power of Banderas, and the accent would be a bigger problem.
I had (foolishly) supposed it was going to be some sort of Caribbean gangster film in English, but it was a Spanish-language biography of gay Cuban novelist Reinaldo Arenas, and it featured at least one scene of full frontal male nudity. I was confused and surprised, to say the least, but I thought the story was moving and the film well done. Since then I have seen it on television, in English, when they put a bathing suit on the underwater shot of the other swimmer. I didn't recognize Bon Bon or Lt. Victor until the second time through.
I have just returned from Havana, and I should add that I thought Bardem's Cuban Spanish was very good.
In this television adaptation, Miss Marple, a Christie character from several other stories, is grafted into the story and Inspector Narracott is deleted, along with a significant sub-plot involving the reason for the Willett's presence at Sittaford House. In addition, the adapters tossed in a homosexual note and, to make this even remotely believable, decided to shift the guilt onto a character that is, in the novel, entirely innocent. The result is a muddled, confusing mess, which would be better overlooked.
Furthermore, Geraldine McEwan entirely lacks the good humor and charm of Joan Hickson, who played Miss Marple in another, far superior series of Christie adaptations.
The American President (Phil Hartman) is a simpleton who managed by his political adviser (James Coburn). They're only interested in re-election, and are perfectly willing to resort to civil war to make it happen.
A CNN-like news organization, "NN", which employs a rainbow of immigrants, and whose announcer is James Earl Jones, plays the potential conflict for all the advertising dollars it's worth.
The governor (Beau Bridges) is really much more interested in his affair with a Mexican American reporter for "NN", and she seems to be the only person aware of the irony.