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Full of some 1970's native-American clichés - broken English, stoic native, etc - but really good episode. No surprise it was directed by Michael Landon himself - good story - excellent ending - sort of a precursor to PALE RIDER in tone and depth (not plot). 'The sun will still rise tomorrow.' Really enjoyed the twists and turns and surprises. The ending was really powerful - and slightly enigmatic.
Camera-work is interesting too - storytelling just really well paced and balanced - especially for what is NOT said - instead of a cheesy line - often they opt for silence. Don't want to give away too much re. the plot - but watch it!
Beautiful and haunting story
I saw SERGIO at an advance screening in Boston, at a memorial for its editor Karen Schmeer. The film is an incredibly moving and suspenseful story of long-time UN diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who was trapped after a massive bomb blast on UN headquarters in Iraq in 2003 – the dawning of the violent insurgency that was to spread rapidly and viciously in the following years.
The film details the harrowing events of that day, as two US paramedics/EMT soldiers recount the extraordinary and terrifying extremes undertaken to try to save Sergio and his colleague Gil Loescher, who were half-buried in the depths of the ruins of the UN building (powerfully recreated – think Touching the Void).
SERGIO beautifully balances the ordeal of that day with the life of Sergio – interviewing family and colleagues, weaving in news and archival footage – following Sergio's personal successes and failures, and his inspiring career as a peacemaker and humanitarian working on behalf of refugees from Cambodia to Kosovo to East Timor. Particularly powerful are interviews with his girlfriend Carolina Larriera, with whom Sergio was about to return to Brazil to begin a new life.
Sergio the man is a dashing, charismatic, complicated, awe-inspiring figure – part Gandhi, part James Bond. What could have been a totally boring biopic is instead a riveting and inspiring story of love, loss, and rebirth. An outstanding film.
Deliver Us from Evil (2006)
Chilling and fascinating
This film depicts, with painstaking care and humanity, how clergy abuse has been systematically covered-up by the hierarchy of the church. You also hear directly from the victims who were impacted by the abuse - and from a pedophile priest. To hear their stories, in detail, makes the pain and suffering of these people palpable and real. And the Catholic church's response to the abuse is shocking, embarrassing, and criminal. It is insane to imagine that these crimes could be perpetrated and then protected by the monsignors and bishops - who feared the scandal if these crimes were made public. This should film should be seen by all children, parents, and church-goer's of all faiths. Incredible and disturbing. Father Tom Doyle is my new hero.
Leading to War (2008)
A reminder of the propaganda machine
I will show this DVD to as many people as I can, and I will save it for my 3 year old son for his future watching. This is a very powerful DVD as it contains many news footage of the Bush Administration's lies and propaganda leading to the current attack and occupation of Iraq. The DVD touched me with anger and sadness as I asked myself how can these government liars still hold office, make public speeches, write books, smile, and act as if all is going well. I thought and still think of all the dead and injured Iraqi and American service people who paid dearly to make the bully machine feel more powerful. This DVD is for right-wingers, left-wingers, moderates, all women, all children, all men, all religious creeds, free-thinkers, war-mongers, peace-makers, patriots, anyone who is objective, open-minded and reasonable. This DVD is for anyone who wants to be reminded that it is very easy to fall into the traps of lies and deceptions. It reminds us we have to question and question and never give up until the truth comes out. It reminds us just because they hold higher office it does not make them honest and smart. Watch this DVD and think. -- Guadalupe Ramos, California
Rescue Dawn (2006)
I saw this tonight at a preview in Somerville, Mass - a really excellent film. Just such good storytelling, with great suspense, and the usual Herzog weird touches that I am guessing must have come from him (and not the true story). The acting is also superb - both Christian Bale and Steve Zahn are fantastic. Bale really captured this guy's incredibly indomitable spirit, but also his almost child-like wonder and naivete at the world - which ironically enough helps him survive. I found the whole story really moving. The very ending of the film really disappointed me, but it didn't ruin the evening by any means. Wonderful music too. Interesting also to see the documentary about the REAL Dieter, LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY (http://imdb.com/title/ tt0145046/), also made by Herzog. I saw it at a film festival 10 years ago - and Herzog and Dieter were there! Of course, much of Dieter's 'real-life' obsessive-compulsive behavior - such as opening and closing a door multiple times after passing through - turns out to have been 'suggested' by Herzog! Cheeky filmmakers...
The Local Stigmatic (1990)
A dark and brilliant film
I had the chance to see this film in NY about 10 years ago, at one of the 'cast and crew' screenings that Pacino would have - he used to show the film to friends/colleagues when working on 'big' Hollywood pictures - private screenings for 50 to 200 people. It's a really interesting, complex film - at only 56 minutes. In the style of British playwright Harold Pinter, it portrays dark, weird, complicated relationships - you're not really sure who's doing what and why - but in a good way, it's all intentional. Lots of pauses and silences, elliptical dialogue. Similar to films like ICE STORM - or Bergman stuff. It's mysterious - the psychology and personalities and motivations of the characters are all hidden and they are evasive - but it's fascinating to watch. What are these characters really after? Some GREAT acting from Pacino and Paul Guilfoyle (now in the original CSI!) - like a master-class in acting, seriously. They play Graham and Ray, two friends (lovers?) in London, who embark on a dark and mysterious journey. I don't want to give too much away! The late Joe Mahar plays a fastidious and pompous celebrity in the film and is also terrific. Film was produced by Pacino and directed by David Wheeler (who directed him on Broadway in Richard III and Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel). Beautifully shot, too - on Super-16. It's never been released until now - it showed only at museums and a handful of film festivals - but it FINALLY came out on DVD in June 2007 - in a trio box-set entitled 'AN ACTOR'S VISION' (along with Chinese COFFEE and LOOKING FOR RICHARD). I hear there is an annoying interview with Pacino on the DVD, as an epilogue, that 'explains' the film - what a mistake to pander like that.
Casting About (2005)
Surprising and inventive...
I saw this when it was in New York - and was completely surprised by the experience. I was intrigued by the idea of a movie all about auditions and acting, but didn't really know what to expect. The whole film is made from audition tapes - actresses who are auditioning for parts in a movie. I wondered how this could be pieced together to make a whole film. It's not a 'behind the scenes' kind of movie - you don't see the director narrowing his choices and making final picks (like some reality show) - it's more about watching the process of the casting unfold. And it unfolds in a beautiful way.
The first part of the film has a kaleidoscopic flurry of images of many actresses, catching you by surprise; then you begin to settle down and spend more time with individual people. It's amazing how much detail you can pick up from just watching them coming into this room to audition - their quirks and ticks and how they're feeling - anxious, or excited, or confident, or detached. You see a whole range of personalities and responses. At times it's wonderfully entertaining, then moving and sad. You don't know what's coming next. And you have access to all of this like a fly on the wall.
There are a couple of great scenes where you get two actresses acting the same material - showing the different approaches that can be taken, with no 'right or wrong,' just the incredible variety of choices that exist. And how do you choose the ONE person to play the part?
Clearly there was a huge amount of material to choose from - the number of actresses in the film is overwhelming. But you do get to know certain women really well, getting in touch with who they are as people. The whole story (although there isn't really a 'storyline') is fascinating to watch. All the pieces feel like they've been carefully chosen to fit together, like a jigsaw puzzle.
The Swimmer (1968)
FANTASTIC on DVD...
I first saw this film on an old VHS copy-- looked like junk, though I enjoyed the film. Just saw it on DVD, and it is amazing-- crystal clear, the sound perfect, colors vibrant-- though the film does have that 1960's/70's 'patina', in terms of style and music and atmosphere, seeing it like this does the film justice.
GIVE THE FILM A CHANCE! In the first 10 minutes of watching this, I thought it was terrible-- what is this? Seems like bad acting, overdone, 'Ahhh, what a BEAUTIFUL day!' everyone keeps saying-- the dialogue is stilted, characters and camera work feel artificial... but then, as Lancaster begins his quest to 'swim' home, the film takes on a very bizarre, powerful quality.
It enters the realm of the surreal-- and you begin to not accept things at face value. Is this a dream? Is this really happening? Has this man died and this is his final 'death journey'?
Despite the sometimes cheesy music, or montage effects (VERY 1960s'/70's! Just accept them and enjoy them for what they are), the film hit me on an emotional, gut level-- it's all about existential questions of life and love and the fleeting nature of time... becoming quite moving and sad at times... give this film a shot, and you will not be disappointed!
Classe tous risques (1960)
A great film, if you can find it...
I saw this film at Telluride Film Festival in 1997, where one of the screenwriters, José Giovanni, was being honored. It ranks highly as a great noir-crime-drama, incredible performances by Belmondo and Lino Ventura. The attention given to every character, and complex psychological portrayals, detailing loyalty, treachery, love, and hope, are tremendous. It is an excellent drama, an excellent thriller, and an excellent film. Up there with the best of Melville. (The title in English 'Class all risk,' in French 'Classe tous risques' is word-play on 'Classe Touriste,' meaning 'Tourist Class'.