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a god and the Truth
23 September 2003
I don't know why it took me so long to realize that Michael Caine is a god. His intelligence always dominates the screen. I usually like Brendan Fraser, but he is so over-shadowed by Michael Caine, even though Caine is so much older. He still has it.

Everyone should know that this film was held back by Miramax because of 9/11. They thought it would be a bad idea to release a film critical of U.S. government policy, even policy in the distant past. Maybe the government had a hand in this decision. This film presents in a concise manner the history of how the U.S. got involved in Vietnam. Other films that relate the U.S. history of over-throwing foreign governments, assassinating foreign leaders, and installing puppet regimes are: "JFK" (Oliver Stone), "Bowling for Columbine" (Michael Moore, whose publisher tried to withhold his book "Stupid White Men" after 9/11), and "Cover-Up" by the Christic Institute. The latter is about the CIA being behind the import of drugs to this country, and about the Republicans making a deal with the Iranians to delay the release of the hostages so that Carter wouldn't be re-elected (Carter had fired 700 CIA secret operatives, who got together to make sure one of their supporters got in the White House). See these films to see the role of the CIA and other covert operations agencies' power as the shadow government of the U.S.
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violence, fear, and ugliness
1 June 2003
The visual aspects of this movie are good. That's about it for the good part. Otherwise, this movie is battles followed by more violence followed by frightening, grotesque images followed by evil and ugly images followed by more violence and battles. And so on. Women are peripheral, as in many movies nowadays. There is NO attempt to develop characters, or interaction between characters, except for fighting. It's all about men and their need to fight and their fears. Our foreign policy is built on fear, so why shouldn't our movies be the same? I'm old enough to remember the sixties, when all the white boys were so crazy about this book. It was proof they were hip, if they'd read the trilogy. And now, the movies are more proof of hipness for the pretentious, who think special effects make a movie good. It's been said that people see scary movies to release some of their fear, but then the movie gives them more distressing images that build more fear within themselves. The positive critiques of this movie are more proof that people's ability to think critically has been destroyed, and that people will buy anything (and any lie) that is offered to them.
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Monkeybone (2001)
I loved it the second time, too!
27 April 2003
I wanted my young friend to see this movie, because he draws his dreams. I knew he would like the dream-like aspect of this movie; it's Fellini-esque, and visually fascinating and beautiful. It's also hilariously funny (and even "mature" people like comedies). My friend says he's going to buy the video. Brendan Fraser is great at comedy, and comedy, in the opinion of some, is more difficult than acting in straight parts. Brendan Fraser plays at least two characters in this film, with his body inhabited by his alter-ego, Monkeybone, at one point. His primary self is shy and unconventional; Monkeybone in the main character's body is wild, sexually compulsive, and at one point, a rock performer. He is such a super stud; he is the only young star who looks good to me, despite my advanced age, and my memories of better generations of movies and stars. Lighten up, fellow moviegoers: comedy is good. Of course, elitism deprives some people of their sense of humor.
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when movies were great
12 February 2003
I was so happy to see a great silver screen film on channel 35 in Philly late one night! I didn't know until now that this was a Fritz Lang creation. Visually this is interesting; the art work presented as the work of Edward G. Robinson's character is still in my head. Edward G. Robinson is great as a victim, just as he was great as a gangster. I can't write well tonight, but this is not a feel-good story, it just feels good to see such an artfully done movie.
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one of my obscure favorites
16 May 2000
It's been years since I saw this on television, but it's one of the films I remember best. The plot deals with the most common cultural and spiritual views of the afterlife in a fascinating, allegorical way; it also deals with moral concerns about the way people live their lives. John Garfield is great, as usual. Some of the most wonderful, familiar character actors of old Hollywood bring much heart and integrity to well-defined roles.
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well-remembered, after many years
27 February 2000
It's probably been more than thirty years since I saw this movie on television. "Beauty for Sale" typifies the films of the thirties, which I prefer to the current crop. The wit of the script and the polish of the acting and directing are beyond anything Hollywood could produce nowadays. There were other films in the thirties that starred mostly character actors, who absolutely had what it took to carry the show. Why are there so many great thirties films that are not available on video? I'm sure there is a market for classic films, besides the most well-known ones.
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Cover Up: This documentary was covered up, unreported by mainstream media.
17 July 1999
I worked for the Jackson campaign in 1988, when this documentary was shown in only one small theater in the large US city where I live. During that campaign, the press would print any rumor about any candidate, no matter how lacking in credibility the source. This film has testimony from credible sources, and yet no newspaper or columnist here carried a review of it or any reference to it. The two major exposes in "Cover Up" are: 1) the deal between the Republicans and the Iranian government to delay the release of the U.S. hostages until after the elections in 1980, so that Carter would not be re-elected; 2) the CIA involvement in import of drugs to this country. Since 1988, the first point has been covered and confirmed in the mainstream media. The second point was again "revealed" in the press last year, and was immediately met with strong denials; the story was squashed, and pressures applied which succeeded in eliciting a retraction from the newspaper in question,the San Jose Mercury. Meanwhile, the organization that produced and distributed the documentary was put out of business by the federal government. Those of us who know what's up know that this film tells the truth. The black journalist (I can't believe I can't remember his name) who has a Sunday morning show on PBS had a guest who said that the U.S. government was behind not only the import of heroin from Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and the import of cocaine from Central America into the present, but has been involved in drug trade since just after World War II. When I speak to African American audiences, I ask, "How many here believe that the government is behind the import of drugs?" the whole audience usually raises their hands.
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Film as Art; Mitchum is Scary and Seductive
25 May 1999
It has been so long since I've seen "Night of the Hunter," but I'll never forget the impression it made. Every time it came on TV, I watched it again. Even if I hadn't been old enough to be aware of the great critical regard for Charles Laughton, the director, and for Shelley Winters, and to be aware of the significance of the history of Lillian Gish in the movies, I would have been impressed. This is not just a suspenseful story, it is a successful collaboration of great talent. The writing, directing, photography, and acting somehow merge into a production that displays great creative intelligence. It is film as art. As young as I was when I saw this movie, I knew that Robert Mitchum didn't have the snob appeal that the others involved had. However, his presence is the most memorable aspect of "Night of the Hunter." There is never a false moment in his portrayal. He is masterful, terrifying and seductive at once. The only disappointment (way in the back of my mind) is my wish, as a woman, that his sexual magnetism be rewarded. How could he not be a good guy? (I think this was my first Mitchum experience.)
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